Sergio Santos And The Closer Market

These are bewildering days we're living in. These are bewildering days on a larger scale, and these are bewildering days on a baseball scale, and specifically on a baseball closer market scale. Absolutely bewildering. I am so bewildered!

It has looked for a while like the closer market was inflated. There was the Jonathan Papelbon contract. There was the Heath Bell contract. There was the rumored Ryan Madson contract, there was the Joe Nathan contract, and there was this report from Jeff Wilson, saying that the A's are asking way too much for Andrew Bailey. Teams have been behaving as if closers are worth more than the numbers have always suggested they are.

But then this morning, just a little while ago, the White Sox traded Sergio Santos. They traded Sergio Santos to the Blue Jays in exchange for prospect Nestor Molina. Last year, Santos struck out 35% of the batters he faced. He's 28 years old, he obviously throws sharp stuff, and he's under a guaranteed cheap contract through 2014, and then has club options through 2017. Santos looked like a great value. All Kenny Williams got in exchange was a pitching prospect, and while Nestor Molina isn't a bad pitching prospect, and while he put up crazy numbers last season, he doesn't seem to have the stuff to stay an ace as he climbs. He could, of course, but his realistic ceiling is less than that.

In conclusion, Molina is desirable. But he doesn't seem like enough of a return for Santos, who is inexpensive and really good.

So one has to wonder what this means for the market now. And the reason it's relevant to us is because the M's have reportedly been sniffing around Bailey, and because there exists the option of the M's dealing Brandon League to add value and free salary. Does the Santos trade make Bailey cheaper? Does the Santos trade make League cheaper, and therefore the thought of trading League less appealing?

Here's the big finale: I don't know! I don't know the answers to these questions, or to a lot of questions, really. There are so many questions to which I don't know the answers, and these are some of them. I think this might be the first sign of a closer being undervalued this offseason. That could be meaningful. But it's really hard to figure out what effect one move could have on subsequent moves - especially when that one move is made by Kenny Williams, who makes decisions based on advice from a leprechaun in his pocket.

The Santos trade will change some conversations. We'll see if it changes the results of those conversations. Kind of. We won't really see, but we'll see results, and then we'll be free to speculate on what the results might have been. You ever do something for half an hour and then wonder why you did it at all? Welcome to this blog post. God, I'm bewildered, and sleepy.

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