Last offseason the Toronto Blue Jays transaction wire was very quiet. Alex Anthopoulos talked about payroll parameters he had to work within and he didn’t find any moves he could make that he felt would make the Blue Jays a better team in the long run.
The Blue Jays one “big splash” last offseason was trading starting pitching prospect Nestor Molina to the Chicago White Sox for closer Sergio Santos. The Blue Jays bullpen blew 25 saves in 2011 so a closer was a big need.
Unfortunately Santos only appeared in 6 games for the Blue Jays in 2012 before having a season ending injury. Sergio Santos’s injury was probably the most under-rated injury for the Blue Jays in 2012 because Casey Janssen eventually took the job and had great success doing it.
With all the Blue Jays offseason additions it’s easy to forget about a reliever you haven’t seen pitch since last April. If Santos stays healthy and pitches like the reliever the Blue Jays thought they were acquiring last offseason then watch out.
Santos is expected to be ready to go by Opening Day .Chances are Santos won’t be given the closer’s role back right away but that shouldn’t make him any less valuable.
In 2011 Santos saved 30 games for the White Sox. He had 13.1 strikeouts per 9 innings. To put that in perspective Santos had a better strikeout rate in 2011 than famous flamethrower Aroldis Chapman did in 2010 and 2011, 12.8 both years.
In 2011 Santos also broke a record held by Mariano Rivera himself for consecutive scoreless appearances on the road to start a season with 25. If you go back to the 2010 season it would be 30 straight consecutive scoreless appearances on the road.
2011 is a long time ago for a reliever and Santos is coming back from surgery on his shoulder. However, If Santos can stay healthy and come even close to being the pitcher he was in 2011, let alone be as good or better he will be a huge part of the Blue Jays success.