The White Sox pulled off a surprising move last week by trading Sergio Santos to the Blue Jays for prospect Nestor Molina. Santos was signed to a team friendly contract and was under team control for six more seasons. He also posted a pretty nice season last year, as he saved 30 games with 13.1 K/9 and a 1.10 WHIP. Santos was a good pickup for the Blue Jays and should continue his success. He was recently ranked 9th in Jason's reliever rankings.
While some are suggesting the White Sox are crazy for dealing Santos for Molina, I don't see it that way. If there is one area that the White Sox are fairly strong at, it is relief pitcher. Even with trading Santos and moving Chris Sale into the rotation, they still have plenty of guys that can close down a game. Jesse Crain had a great season last year and will probably get the first chance at saves for Robin Ventura's ball club. Matt Thornton, though he struggled in the role last April could also be leaned upon.
However, the guy that I am putting my money on to get the save chances come June will be Addison Reed. The former San Diego State closer and 2010 3rd round pick made 4 stops throughout the minors last season. Over 78.1 innings, he compiled a 1.26 ERA, a 0.72 WHIP and a 12.8 K/9. That performance earned him a cup of coffee with the big club, where he pitched in 7 1/3 inning and struck out 12 batters.
While he will probably begin the season in a sixth inning role, I expect him to move up the bullpen ladder as quickly as he moved up the minor league ladder in 2011.
If you are in a league that values middle relievers, or have rosters deep enough to stash away a potential sleeper closer, take a late round flier on Reed. I did with Santos last season and ended up very happy. I'm hoping to have the same success with Reed.