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 invite Tim Tebow to spring training

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Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.

Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.

Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.