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Sergio Santos' Value Goes Beyond Scoreless Relief Innings

By: Ross Jacobson
Friday, May 7, 2010

Sergio Santos is making potential trade deadline decisions much easier for the White Sox front office. Courtesy: Ron Vesely/MLB Photos/Getty Images

It was going to happen sooner or later, but Sergio Santos' streak of scoreless innings to start his fairytale career as a major-league pitcher ended at 12 on Saturday.

The 27-year-old righty has been nothing short of spectacular for the Sox, pitching in tight spots, mop-up duty and late-game situations.

I know right now the concern in White Sox nation is the closer situation. My take on that, which I wrote about here, remains unchanged. Jenks has struggled so let's, at least temporarily, use Putz and Thornton and let them have their shot at the job. Some are crying for Santos to be the closer, but why take him out of a spot that he's thrived in?

With the White Sox sitting in third place and falling fast behind the Twins and Tigers, the development of Santos puts the White Sox in prime position for July rather than October.

Is there a chance that the bats all start to come around and Floyd shakes his typical early season struggles? Yes. Yet there's also the possibility that Kenny Williams pulls the plug and decides to start thinking about 2011.

The White Sox possess a number of assets that could be potential trade targets. Like Jim Thome last season, Paul Konerko is a slugging first basemen or DH, who's in the last year of his contract. Maybe you, Seattle? A.J. Pierzynski can be moved to make room for uber-prospect Tyler Flowers.

But as is always the case around the trade deadline, teams are always in need of bullpen relief. Through injuries and inconsistency, the contenders come July will be champing at the bit for solid 7th- and 8th-inning relievers. And the White Sox have plenty of them.

Linebrink and Putz are quality set-up men with proven track records. Even Bobby Jenks could be moved at the trade deadline if the right team comes up with a sufficient amount of talented prospects. St. Louis: How comfortable are you with Ryan Franklin down the stretch?

So while Santos' development is currently helping the big-league club, the biggest benefit could be a boost to a depleted White Sox farm system. Let's just hope it isn't.


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