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.

Mets to move Matt Harvey to the bullpen

Matt Harvey
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Mets right-hander Matt Harvey is heading to the bullpen, according to comments made by club manager Mickey Callaway on Saturday. As predicted, Harvey doesn’t appear to be taking the news particularly well, going so far as to tell Callaway that the decision has him “at a 10 with being pissed off” and that he’s motivated to prove himself as a starter.

It’s been rough going for Harvey this spring. After missing significant time to a shoulder injury last season, the 29-year-old righty returned to the mound with a lot left to prove. He pitched to an 0-2 record in four starts, issuing 14 runs, four home runs and 17 strikeouts in 21 innings. It’s been a while since the Mets have seen anything better out of their starter — he hasn’t turned in a sub-4.00 ERA since 2015 and hasn’t pitched well enough to earn an All-Star berth since 2013 — and now it appears they’re at the end of their rope.

At this point, the Mets insist that the shift is a temporary one. While Callaway has helped successfully convert several starters to the bullpen, including Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco, that’s not the plan for this veteran right-hander. Instead, both the team and Harvey seem to view the change as a way to clear up any mental blocks Harvey may be encountering on the mound. “We know he’s healthy,” assistant GM John Ricco told reporters. “He’s feeling good. Then you get to, is this a little bit of a mental thing, a confidence thing? One of the things we talk about is getting him into the ‘pen, where he can have success in short spurts, get that confidence back and really let it go and get back to being a guy who can dominate the way he’s shown in the past.”

Harvey will be eligible to pitch out of the bullpen on Tuesday, when the Mets are scheduled to kick off their next road series against the Cardinals. As for his replacement, left-hander Jason Vargas will resume his role in the rotation when he comes off the disabled list next Saturday.