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 Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.