Saturday, 10 December 2011

Is Santos a Saviour?

I admit, I am as big an Alex Anthopolous fan as the next guy, but I haven't quite drunk the 'Sergio-Santos-will-be-our-saviour' kool-aid.  Sure, I am glad he's controllable and anxious to see how he develops as a pitcher, but let's assess the trade for a moment.

Pros:
1) Needed a 'closer' (or at least bullpen help)
2) He's ML ready unlike Molina (possibly)
3) He's controllable

Let's consider the following, though.  Yes, we needed controllable bullpen help, without giving up 'too much,' and the question is, what is 'too much.'  While I don't have the numbers in front of me for the controllable years (nor can I predict the arbitration values Molina might get later) is Santos not less controllable (in terms of cost) than a guy who has yet to tick his ML clock?  That is, it is like the Jays signed a 28-year-old to Santos' 'controllable' (and yes, FAIRLY affordable) contract as well as trading Molina for him, since Molina would have been even more controllable and cheaper for those years.  That strikes me as a dual price.  That must be added into the assessment.

Further, what is the difference between the two?  I am no scout, and I have not seen Molina pitch, but we were told throughout the season of his two excellent, major-league-quality/ready pitches by the Jays' announcers and brass with more pitches developing.  Santos, we are also told, has two ML pitches.  Thus, that difference seems negligible or perhaps weighted towards Molina since he has greater likelihood of developing more quality pitches.

On quality, we can move on to strike throwing.  Both guys miss bats, but Santos misses the zone far too often for what is typically a repeatable success rate, whereas Molina hits it so often he ranks in literally elite company for both BB/9 and K:BB ratio.

Next, Molina is currently a starter (though, yes, some scouts say he might be ML reliever material), whereas Santos will never be and starters have more value.  Yes, Molina could end up the same but might end up with greater value and has greater upside.

So basically, the argument that Santos is affordably controllable is voided by the fact that Molina is more affordable and controllable, Molina has MUCH better control and (while admittedly at AA though at a young age) similar K rates, Molina has purportedly two roughly equal pitches, has greater upside in terms of positional value and pitch effectiveness and, we are told, could be playing in the ML in 2012 (though will be a late call-up probably and a work in progress).

I see one unmitigated plus for Santos there: readiness.  If that is Anthopolous' criteria for this trade, I expect to see a push to win in 2012, else I am willing to bet we regret this trade in retrospect.

Tell me if/where I am wrong... I want to believe!

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