For Santos, this move was just the latest development during what has been a very frustrating career in Toronto.
After a 30-save season with the Chicago White Sox in 2011, the hard-throwing right-hander was acquired by the Blue Jays in an offseason trade that year and handed the closer’s role heading into the 2012 season.
But Santos was never able to replicate his previous success with the White Sox in Toronto. He proceeded to blow two of his first four save opportunities in 2012 and posted a 9.00 ERA during his first six appearances of the season.
Those six appearances were the only times Santos pitched that year, as he went on the disabled list with shoulder soreness shortly after and later required season-ending shoulder surgery.
With Santos out, the Blue Jays handed the closer’s role to Casey Janssen, who permanently seized the job by saving 22 games in 2012.
2013 was supposed to be year of redemption for Santos. He came into spring training fully healthy and made five appearances in April in a setup role. But the reliever was soon on the DL again with a tricep strain, eventually requiring clean-up surgery on his right elbow and missing three months.
Returning in August, Santos was dominant during the rest of the season. He posted a 1.75 ERA and struck out 28 batters in 25.2 innings pitched during the 2013 season, leading to hopes that 2014 would be a breakout year.
With Janssen suffering an injury during 2014 spring training and expected to miss the first month of the season, Santos was named the team's interim closer. But he again struggled, posting an 8.31 ERA in April and walking nine batters in 8.2 innings pitched during the month.
The Blue Jays finally removed Santos from the closer’s role after he blew three saves in four chances. Shortly after, he again went on the DL with elbow soreness. Toronto DFA’d Santos shortly after he returned from his injury.
According to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet (via Sportsnet.ca), Santos is now on waivers and will remain there until Wednesday. If no team claims him (something that is very likely considering that he’s still roughly owed $1.3 million this season), the 31-year-old will report to Triple-A Buffalo and attempt to rediscover his form in the minor leagues.
A demotion is always a tough outcome for any major leaguer. But for Santos, this was just the latest disappointing development in a career with the Blue Jays marred by injuries, underperformance and unfulfilled expectations.
*All stats are from baseball-reference.com