White Sox sign closer Sergio Santos to three-year deal

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Sergio Santos, who saved 30 games for the White Sox in just his third year since converting from the infield to the mound, was given a three-year, $8.25 million deal on Friday.

It looks like a bargain for the White Sox, who turned to Santos in the ninth after Matt Thornton’s shaky start this season. Santos is still a year away from arbitration, but the deal will take care of his first two arbitration seasons and it includes options through 2017.

Santos will receive $1 million next season, $2.75 million in 2013 and $3.75 million in 2014. The options are for $6 million in 2015, $8 million in 2016 and $8.75 million in 2017. The reliever will get a $750,000 buyout if any of those options are declined.

So, Santos will earn a total of $7.5 million for his third, fourth and fifth years in the big leaguers.  Bobby Jenks, the team’s previous closer, earned $13.5 million over that same timeframe, demonstrating just how much the White Sox stand to save here if Santos remains a quality closer.

And Santos figures to remain a force at the end of games.  He’s still learning how to pitch, but that didn’t stop him from striking out 92 and limiting hitters to a .181 average as a sophomore.

In 115 big-league innings, Santos has a 3.29 ERA and a 148/55 K/BB ratio.

The Cubs will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday

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The Cubs soundly defeated the Cardinals on Monday night, 10-2, sending their magic number down to one. They will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday with another win against the Cardinals. Alternatively, if they lose, they can still clinch if the Brewers also lose on Tuesday.

The Cubs, of course, won the Central last year en route to winning their first World Series since 1908. It wasn’t nearly as easy this year as the club was below .500 entering June and was exactly at .500 entering July. A 16-8 July, 17-12 August, and 15-8 September have helped put the Cubs back in position to return to the postseason.

Not to be forgotten, the Cardinals were eliminated from NL Central contention with Monday’s loss. Now they have their sights set on the second NL Wild Card slot and currently trail the Rockies in that race.

The matchups for Tuesday’s action:

Carter Capps to undergo surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome

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Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Padres pitcher Carter Capps will undergo surgery this offseason to address thoracic outlet syndrome, which doctors believe caused the right-hander’s blood clots. The Padres hope to have him ready by spring training next year.

Capps, 27, underwent Tommy John surgery last year and didn’t debut this season until August 7. He made 11 relief appearances, yielding nine runs on 12 hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. He went back on the DL on September 12 due to the blood clot issue.

The Padres acquired Capps from the Marlins last July in the Andrew Cashner trade which ended up having a lot of moving parts. Capps will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility this offseason. It’s quite possible the Padres choose to non-tender him.