Last year around this time the Blue Jays acquired Sergio Santos from the White Sox to be their long-term closer, but he ended up being shut down in April before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery.
In his absence Casey Janssen emerged as the Blue Jays’ closer, saving 22 games with a 2.54 ERA, but Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star writes that “Santos is ready for spring training, with a chance, if healthy, to reclaim the closer’s role.”
Regardless of which role he’d fill getting a healthy Santos back would be huge for a team that beefed up its roster in a major way this offseason. In two seasons with the White Sox the converted infielder threw 115 innings with a 3.29 ERA, .219 opponents’ batting average, and 11.6 strikeouts per nine innings.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Pirates will sign reliever Felipe Rivero to a four-year contract extension that includes two club options. The total value of the deal is believed to be $22 million and each club option is worth $10 million.
Rivero, 26, did not come to an agreement with the Pirates to avoid arbitration in his first year of eligibility ahead of last Friday’s deadline. He requested a $2.9 million salary for the 2018 season while the Pirates countered at $2.4 million. This extension will cover all four years of Rivero’s arbitration eligibility and the two club options can cover his first two years of free agency as well.
Rivero was one of baseball’s best relievers last season, finishing with 21 saves, a 1.67 ERA, and an 88/20 K/BB ratio in 75 1/3 innings. The Pirates acquired him from the Nationals along with minor leaguer Taylor Hearn ahead of the 2016 non-waiver trade deadline in the Mark Melancon deal.
Presumably, Rivero’s extension was in the works before he knew anything about the Andrew McCutchen trade. He made a couple of tweets following this afternoon’s news. In one, he used only the “facepalm” emoji. The other was a .gif of The Office character Jim Halpert yelling, “What is going on?”