Well here’s something of a surprise: according to a team release this afternoon, the Jays have designated struggling reliever Sergio Santos for assignment, bringing up Rob Rasmussen in his place, per a team release. Once thought to be the Jays’ closer of the future, and an exciting piece of the club’s bullpen as recently as the second half of last year, when he came back from injury, allowing four earned runs, eight hits, with just three walks and 22 strikeouts over 21.1 innings in the season’s final two months.
Now he’s in limbo, with the Jays possible looking to get off the hook for what remains of the $3.75-million he earns this year (he’s got a $6-million option for 2015, plus two more options for 2016 and ’17, with a $750K buyout on each option), or at the very least to get him to Buffalo, where he can try to fix the command issues that have been plaguing him, and to clear a spot for the eventual promotion of Aaron Sanchez.
Interesting. I don’t actually believe — as some are assuming — that this is about money mostly. It’s not like he’s pitched well enough to get claimed, and as stretched as we may be inclined to believe in our worst moments of dread that the Jays’ budget is, I have a hard time simply assuming that they’d need so badly to free up such a small amount of money. Hopefully it’s a situation where he’ll accept the assignment, go to Buffalo, give Sanchez the chance to help out, and then get himself back in line to contribute down the stretch.
And according to what Alex Anthopoulos has told reporters this afternoon at Rogers Centre, that is indeed exactly what is going on.
“AA says he didn’t explore a trade for Santos and neither did Santos ask to be traded. Hoping he’ll clear waivers and pitch in Buffalo,” tweets Brendan Kennedy of the Star, letting us know that the club has indeed immediately placed him on waivers.
Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi adds that the club will find out Wednesday whether Santos has been claimed or not, but the guess here — and evidently in the Jays’ front office — is that with something like $2.2-million owed him just for the remainder this year and his buyout, given the way he’s been struggling, he’ll get through and go to Buffalo. Davidi also adds that Anthopoulos insists that when healthy, Santos is a dominant reliever, and that the plan is to get him to Buffalo and get him back on track in terms of fastball command.
This year Santos has walked 17 batters in 19.2 innings (to go along with 26 strikeouts), and he’s been homer prone, line drive prone, not as ground ball heavy as in his excellent 2013, with velocity that’s been down a half a tick — though it’s certainly possible he’s been dialling back in order to help with his command.
He’s certainly not helping anybody here, and not helping himself by waiting for a chance here to get some garbage time innings in, so… yep. It actually all kinda makes sense, doesn’t it?
And according to a tweet from Alex Seixeiro of the Fan, Jeff Blair is saying that he thinks Aaron Sanchez will be up with the big club by the weekend, for whatever that’s worth. So that’s a thing.