Ozzie Guillen has been playing musical relievers after Opening Day closer Matt Thornton blew all four of his early save chances (with the help of some shoddy defense).
Sergio Santos was the latest White Sox reliever to be handed a late-inning lead last night and the converted shortstop closed out a 2-0 win with 1.1 scoreless innings against the Yankees.
He looked good enough converting the four-out save (or the rest of the bullpen has looked bad enough) that afterward Guillen indicated Santos is now at the top of the closer heap.
Thornton hasn’t pitched nearly as poorly as his four blown saves would suggest and he has a long enough track record of excellence as a setup man that sticking with him as closer wouldn’t be a bad move, but giving Santos a shot with ninth-inning duties isn’t a bad idea either.
Santos was the Diamondbacks’ first-round pick in 2002 as a shortstop, but after hitting just .248 with a .699 OPS in more than 3,000 trips to the plate in the minors he moved to the mound in 2009. He cracked the White Sox’s bullpen coming out of spring training last year and has a 2.44 ERA with 70 strikeouts in 63 innings since, averaging 95.7 miles per hour with his fastball and serving up a grand total of just two homers.
Chicago’s bullpen has been ugly early on, but Thornton is a good bet to get back on track and join Santos, Chris Sale, and Jesse Crain in a potentially dominant late-inning quartet.
As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.
Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.
Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.
The Kansas City Royals have signed starter Danny Duffy to a five-year, $65 million contract extension.
Duffy was arbitration eligible this offseason and would’ve been a free agent next winter if he hadn’t signed the deal. Given his stuff he might’ve made a mint as a free agent, but he’s also been inconsistent at times and any pitcher is an injury away from losing a payday, making this a nice, lucrative bet for the lefty.
Duffy, 28, posted a 3.51 ERA and a 188/42 K/BB ratio across 179.2 innings in 2016.