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.
It’s extension season and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros — who already agreed to an extension with Alex Bregman — are discussing contract extensions with Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.
Funny thing about Verlander, by the way: when he got his current $180 million deal, most people fell into the “oh, there’s an overpay!” column. What’s more, this past winter, when everyone was talking about how bad it is to give guys big long term deals, Verlander’s name was notably absent in the conversation despite the fact that his deal has turned out to be quite good. I suppose that says something about how good the anti-long-term deal folks are at cherrypicking.
That being said, Rosenthal says “it would be an upset” if either Verlander or Cole signed extensions. I can see that. Verlander is locked up this year and has a vesting option for 2020, and a lot can happen in a year or two. Cole is a Scott Boras client and Boras clients tend to hit the market rather than sign extensions. Perhaps their former teammate, Dallas Keuchel‘s, terrible experience on the free agent market this winter will alter that calculus. Hard to say.