New Addition Molina Could Arrive Quickly For White Sox
CHICAGO—General manager Ken Williams wasn't kidding at the Winter Meetings in Dallas when he said the White Sox were embarking on a rebuilding project.
"And you guys know I have not used that word in 12 years," Williams said in announcing that he had acquired righthander Nestor Molina from the Blue Jays for major league closer Sergio Santos.
It was a stunning move because Santos, 28, saved 30 games last season and was under contract control for the next six seasons. Several teams had no idea the Sox would make Santos available or settle for one prospect. But these are challenging times for the White Sox, who need to trim their $127 million payroll.
Molina, 22, might not be ready until 2013, but the Sox were persistent in acquiring him. Molina, like Santos, started his professional career as an infielder before he was converted to pitcher. A native of Valencia, Venezuela, Molina reaches 93 mph and according to Williams has a swing-and-miss split-finger fastball. He showed pinpoint control with just 18 walks while striking out 148 in 130 innings at high Class A Dunedin and Double-A New Hampshire last year, going 12-3, 2.21.
"I would hope that we give him a little bit more seasoning, but he's got the kind of ability," Williams said of Molina's prospects of making the 2012 Opening Day roster. "We got certain guys with abilities that will force their way onto major league rosters, and 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 I'm not going to say he can't or won't."
Williams believed the organization's relief depth made it possible to trade Santos. Righthander Addison Reed, 22, struck out 12 in 71⁄3 innings during a September promotion, and he is a candidate to take over Santos' closer duties.
• The acquisition of Molina was recommended by Marco Paddy, who was hired as special assistant to the GM in charge of international operations. Paddy served the past five seasons as Toronto's director of Latin American operations.
• Several sources said Kevin Bootay was hired as a professional scout. Bootay has worked for the Rangers and Twins and played in the Rangers and Phillies organizations.