DALLAS -- Of all the players who were on the White Sox trading block, Sergio Santos was down near the bottom of the list. But Tuesday, Kenny Williams surprised everyone by trading his closer to the Blue Jays for minor league pitching prospect Nestor Molina.
That was followed by a word used by Williams that many White Sox fans have been fearing for the last several weeks:
The White Sox have begun the process, but its not a complete tear-down.
It is the start of a rebuilding and you guys know that Ive not used that word in 12 years, but it is the start of rebuilding now, Williams told reporters. Is it the start of a falling domino-type of rebuilding? No, absolutely not, because as we currently sit here I do not like whats currently being offered for our valuable pieces. So Im of the mindset that while we may do a couple more things, as we sit here right now well probably keep the rest of the pitching intact.
That means John Danks and Gavin Floyd are safe...for now.
"It's going to be interesting what rebuilding means to Kenny," Santos told Chicago Tribune Live Tuesday. "It could be something completely different for him than it does everybody else. I'm sure they're going to have a competitive team they're going to put out there in 2012 and give Detroit and everybody else in that league a run for their money."
Santos, the converted reliever who saved 30 games for the White Sox last season, was on the golf course when he got the news that he had been dealt.
Sergio was caught off guard, Williams said. Its always a difficult conversation because he gained his success with us and a new life with baseball with us. But he took it very professionally and hes looking forward to the opportunity to continue pitching in the major leagues. The team wanted him so badly to give up such a prospect.
That prospect, Molina, put up lights-out numbers last season in the minors, going 12-3 with a 2.21 ERA, 148 strikeouts and just 18 walks in 130 innings at both Class A Dunedin and Class AA New Hampshire.
But is he ready for the big leagues?
I would hope that we give him a little bit more seasoning, but hes got the kind of ability that, there are certain guys that will force his way onto major league rosters. When you look at a young pitcher, you look at what kind of stuff he has, what kind of composure he has, and his ability to command the strike zone, and this guy does it in a way that very few do so. Im not going to say that he cant, and he wont.
The White Sox clearly think highly of Molina. So do the Blue Jays, who were divided internally about letting him go.
We had to pay a very steep price and it was not easy to do, said Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos. Obviously, hes one of our better prospects, definitely a tough one (to trade), but at the same time we think were getting a guy who has a chance of being an elite closer in the American League.
So who will be the White Sox next closer? There are several candidates: Matt Thornton, Addison Reed, and Jesse Crain are the obvious ones. And if youre wondering how Robin Ventura will be managing behind the scenes in regards to the players on his roster, Williams gave us a little glimpse.
Robin was in the meeting, and the Blue Jays guys asked who was going to close, Williams said. I started rattling off some names, I looked over at Robin and he had a quizzable look on his face and said Ill decide that.
Meanwhile, the Mark Buehrle train continues to leave the station in Chicago.
I hear hes a very popular man, and hes going to be even richer than he is, Williams said.
Asked if he anticipates having another conversation before Buehrle makes a final decision, Williams said "it's possible" explained their current position quite matter-of-factly.
Hell be missed unless something happens that is unforeseen right now.