Santos in 10 words or less
Hometown kid, potential bullpen piece, looking for Dodger Stadium debut
Can Santos stay healthy enough to regain the form that saw him go from minor league shortstop to major league closer, providing effective relief for the White Sox in 2010 and 2011, even saving 30 games in 2011?
After putting up a 29.9-percent strikeout rate, 11.1-percent walk rate, 3.29 ERA and 2.97 FIP in his first two seasons, Santos has dealt with a myriad of injuries. He has surgery to repair a frayed labrum in his right shoulder in 2012, a strained triceps in 2013, and a right forearm strain last season.
The result from 2012-2014 for Santos was a 5.23 ERA and a 4.00 FIP with the Blue Jays, though his walk rate (11.2 percent) and strikeout rate (27.7 percent) weren't too far off those Chicago years.
Santos is healthy now, and changed his offseason workout routine in an effort to stay that way.
"There are a couple things I did a little different this offseason as far as throwing a little bit earlier and at a slower pace," Santos said. "Just to feel like my arm was always active."
On his chances of making the roster:
"I wouldn't have signed here if I knew there wasn't a good chance of making the big league team," Santos said. "If I'm healthy and I'm throwing the ball the way I can, I feel pretty confident about my chances of making the team."
Santos doesn't believe there is much of a difference in pitching the ninth versus other innings.
"The only thing would be hitters have already had three at-bats already so their timing is a little bit better usually late in the game, and they've seen guys with high 90s coming out of the bullpen. That may be the only difference, but it's still the same. I had a good talk with Mariano Rivera back in 2011 when I was first closing, and that was his biggest thing - there's no difference. You just have to worry about pitch to pitch, and everything else will take care of itself."
That said, Santos would love the opportunity to fill in for closer Kenley Jansen to open the season.
"I think if you ask anyone in a bullpen role, everybody wants to be a closer, everybody wants to be in the moment with the game on the line and you throwing. I'd love to. Anyway I can help this team, whether it be the seventh, eighth or ninth. I'm definitely looking forward to that."
Santos was a first-round pick in 2002 as a shortstop, out of Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana. He grew up an avid Dodgers fan.
"Growing up in LA, I was a huge Dodgers fan. Ever since I got in baseball, I always hoped for an opportunity to be traded to them, or to become a free agent to be able to sign with them," Santos said. "It's a little surreal putting on the Dodgers hat and Dodgers uniform, especially because I've put it on for so long but never been a part of the team, so it's nice to be a part of that now."
Santos has never played at Dodger Stadium in his major league career, and he said he never played there during CIF playoffs nor any other time as well.
Santos is signed to a minor league deal, and would earn a $1 million base salary if he makes the majors, with potential to earn another $3.05 million in performance bonuses.
In addition, Santos has an opt-out date of May 1, by which he can become a free agent if the Dodgers don't add him to the active roster.
|2015 projections - Age 31 season|
There are a number of spots open in the Dodgers bullpen, and among the non-roster invitees Santos has as good a shot as any to make the club. I think he makes it, and ends up putting up a 3.51 ERA in 41 innings, with 49 strikeouts and 21 walks.
What is your guess for 2015? Be sure to enter those in the comments.