On Tuesday morning, the White Sox surprised more than a few people by trading closer Sergio Santos to the Toronto Blue Jays for pitching prospect Nestor Molina.
Santos, 28, had 30 saves for the Sox last year. After the season ended, he signed an interesting, very team-friendly extension with the Sox. The base of Santos' new contract is three years and $7.5M, but there are three options on the back-end of the deal; there is a $6-million club option in 2015, an $8-million option in 2016 and an $8.75-million option in 2017.
Coming back to Chicago in the deal is one of the top pitching prospects in the Toronto organization. Does this make up for Alex Rios? Not really. But it's a start.
Molina, 22, combined to go 12-3 with a 2.21 ERA between the Class A and AA. He walked 18 while striking out 148 strikeouts in 26 games (23 starts) and over 130 innings last season between Class A Dunedin and Class AA New Haven. He averaged 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings pitched, but what was most impressive was his 8.2 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his first full season as a starter. Molina held opponents to a .234 batting average and allowed three earned runs or less in 20 of his 23 starts.
Santos was once a highly rated shortstop prospect in the Jays' organization, but converted to pitching once he came to Chicago. Molina was once a third baseman, but switched to pitching recently as well.