Santos struggling to save games, job

by on May 4, 2014

Sergio-Santos

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* The Sergio Santos era in Toronto has not gone as planned. After another poor performance for the reliever Friday in Pittsburgh, Bob Elliott says the Jays may be looking at others to close games. ….

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By Bob Elliott

The Blue Jays acquired Sergio Santos from the Chicago White Sox at the Anatole Hilton during the winter meetings in Dallas on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011.

The word “control” was mentioned half a dozen times.

The Jays were sharp, so they said, because they now had control of Santos, then 27, for the next six seasons. Santos had signed a club-friendly, three-year $8.25-million contract with three option years with the White Sox, meaning he was under the Jays control until 2017.

And now the Jays control whether Santos remains the man they ask to get the 27th and final out.

Asked to get the final three outs with a two-run lead Friday at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, it was ugly:

Neil Walker singled, Andrew McCutchen struck out, Pedro Alvarez hit a two-run homer, Ike Davis popped up, and Starling Marte homered into the Pirates bullpen for a walk-off win. Santos walked off the mound head down with the walk-off loss.

Santos was put in the tough spot of being asked to get the final five outs with runners on the corners and a one-run, eighth-inning lead Tuesday night in Kansas City. Even if he gets the first man on a fly ball it’s a tie game. He retired one.

Salvador Perez hit a two-run double, Mike Moustakas struck out, Alcides Escobar walked and Jarrod Dyson hit a run-scoring single. Enter manager John Gibbons. Exit Santos.

Santos is 5-for-8 in save opportunities. His other blown save was the second game of the doubleheader in Minneapolis when put in another tough spot: Up 5-3, runners on second and third, asked to get the final five outs. Santos didn’t retire a man.

He walked Trevor Plouffe, bounced two wild pitches past Dioner Navarro, walked Kurt Suzuki and walked Brian Dozier with another wild pitch. Enter Gibbons. Exit Santos.

And on the subject of control, Santos has walked nine hitters in 9 1/3 innings.

The Jays will now proceed with a closer by committee process.

Now, besides having to decide who would close games the rest of this trip, the Jays will eventually have to decide whether to pick up the $6-million US option on Santos for 2015 or pay him the $750,000 buyout.

QUOTE, UNQUOTE

“The only thing I can tell you for sure about the AL East is that Toronto will finish last. Any of the other four can win it.” — Mitch Williams, MLB Network.

THIS SHIP IS SINKING

When the Jays’ 2013 all-in season ended with 74 wins, a few things were clear, so a laundry list was compiled:

The Jays said they needed another starter.

The Jays needed to improve their defence. They spent seven weeks in Florida deciding on Ryan Goins to play second. After 20 games, they sent Goins to triple-A Buffalo. Brett Lawrie, who plays a gold-glove calibre third base, was playing second Friday in a National League park.

In the second half of last season, the Jays had an eight-man bullpen of one-inning guys: Casey Janssen, Steve Delabar, Brett Cecil, Aaron Loup, Darren Oliver, Neil Wagner, Dustin McGowan and Santos.

This year with Janssen injured, the Jays have three long men in Esmil Rogers, Todd Redmond and J.A. Happ along with Delabar, Cecil, Loup, Wagner and Santos for the most part.

The most embarrassing part of the season for Rogers Communications is not a blown lead or relievers walking batters or starters averaging roughly 5 1/3 innings per outing. No, it’s the fact that when the corporation needed pitching help and wanted to spend $14.1 million on free agent Ervin Santana, players were asked to defer their salaries. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal had the story how each Jay would have benefited from a raise on an option down the road or an increased buyout.

WATCHING

Chuck LaMarr, one of the Jays’ top amateur evaluators, has scouted Tucson high school lefty Alex Verdugo. The Jays pick ninth overall June 5 and they also have the 11th pick since they failed to sign Phil Bickford, drafted 10th overall last June. Verdugo is rated 20th best prospect by Perfect Game scouting service … New Jays scout Steve Connelly, of Wilson, N.C., is tied for 21st in a Baseball America study of the area scouts to have the most big-league debuts this decade. Scout Ramon Pena, who has worked for the Tigers, Mets and Indians, leads the way with 11 debuts. With the Royals, Connelly signed Chris Dwyer, Greg Holland, Ed Lucas and Wil Myers … Five former and current Jays scouts are tied for 33rd: Matt Briggs of Birmingham (J.P. Arencibia, Brad Emaus, Chad Jenkins), former Nationals scout Ryan Fox of Yakima, Wash. (Jeff Kobernus, Derek Norris, Drew Storen), Tampa resident Joel Grampietro now with the White Sox (Drew Hutchison, Tyler Pastornicky, Daniel Webb), Rob St. Julien of Lafayette, La. (Evan Crawford, Danny Farquhar, Aaron Loup) and Hilario Soriano of the Dominican now working for the Mets (Joel Carreno, Luis Perez, Moises Sierra).

CHAVEZ TIME

Only Mark Buehrle had thrown more than 38 innings amongst Jays starters heading into Saturday night. On the coast, Jesse Chavez has pitched 38 innings for the Oakland A’s. He has allowed one run or fewer in five of his six starts for a 1.89 ERA. Chavez made two starts for the Blue Jays in June of 2012 (allowing four runs in 2 2/3 innings to the Brewers and six runs in six innings to the Marlins) before the A’s purchased his contract in August.

BIG SCREEN

The true story of Millon Dollar Arm of two pitchers from India, lefty Rinku Singh and right-hander Denish Patel, signing with the Pittsburgh Pirates hits theatres this week. They made their pro debuts July 4, 2009 with the rookie-class Gulf Coast Pirates. Sun freelance photog Eddie Michels was the official scorer that day and his score sheets were sent to Cooperstown. Unconfirmed Dunedin sources say George Clooney was willing to play the part of the official scorer, but had a conflict with another project. Singh reached class-A West Virginia in 2012, while Patel spent two seasons in the Pirates organization but never was promoted from the Gulf Coast.

 

Bob Elliott
Bob Elliott is the founder of the Canadian Baseball Network. He is also a baseball columnist for the Toronto Sun, Sun Media and a frequent guest on The FAN-590. He was born in Kingston, Ont. If you want to know anything and everything to do with the Major Leagues, Minor Leagues or amateur baseball in Canada - Bob is the man to talk to.

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