The Chicago White Sox did not sell the Blue Jays damaged goods in the form of Sergio Santos, insists Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos.
During an appearance Monday on the Jeff Blair Show on Sportsnet Radio 590 The Fan, Anthopoulos addressed a popular narrative with a certain segment of the Blue Jays fan base that says White Sox GM Kenny Williams duped Toronto into trading for Santos when they knew him to be injured.
On Sunday the Blue Jays announced that Santos will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery focusing on his labrum. He has not pitched since mid April.
The conspiracy theory dates back to 2000 when Williams sent left-hander Mike Sirotka to Toronto in a package for lefty David Wells. Shortly after acquiring him, the Blue Jays discovered Sirotka had a partial tear of the rotator cuff and a torn labrum in his left shoulder. He would never pitch for Toronto.
Then Blue Jays GM Gord Ash appealed to commissioner Bud Selig for additional compensation claiming Williams withheld certain facts about Sirotka’s condition, but Selig later denied the request.
On Monday, Blair asked Anthopoulos point blank whether he is convinced Santos was not injured when he was acquired back on Dec. 4 in exchange for pitching prospect Nestor Molina.
"Absolutely, 100 per cent," he said. "I understand that’s the first question that comes up."
Anthopoulos argued that not only did Santos finish strong with the White Sox last year, but Chicago decided to sign him to a contract extension at the end of the season despite having under team control for another four years.
"Molina, who we traded (for Santos), he’s hurt too," added Anthopoulos. "He’s got an elbow problem right now and conversely Chicago people can say, ‘well, did they trade for damaged goods as well.’
"It’s part of our game. I know we try to make things more than they are and create a story, but there isn’t a story. People end up getting hurt."
During spring training eyebrows were raised when Santos was held out of exhibition action, but Anthopoulos denied it had anything to do with an injury.
"No, we really wanted to develop his changeup," he told Blair. "His stuff was great in the spring."
With Santos now scheduled to have surgery on his injured right shoulder, the hope is to have him back on the mound in time for spring training 2013.
"He’s going to get a scope," said Anthopoulos. "It’s more of a cleanup, but they say his range of motion is great, he’s strong."
Anthopoulos also addressed a number of other topics on Monday, including…
THE POSSIBILITY OF MOVING THE BACK THE JULY 31 TRADE DEADLINE:
"I don’t see it happening, but it’s an interesting thought. I see the merits to both sides. I’m not sure which way I would fall on that."
ON ADDING MIDDLE RELIEF HELP AT THE DEADLINE:
"With the volatility of relievers you never know exactly what you’re going to get. You have to be careful sometimes with the way guys are used. To make a trade for one middle reliever is a harder thing to do; it’s usually a prospect-type deal and the team trading away that (reliever) wants to get some type of decent prospect, but when you’re a contending team that bullpen is very, very important so from our standpoint, we certainly have relief needs for 2012, certainly have relief needs going forward into next year and beyond, because we have a lot of our bullpen with the potential to be free agents.
"It’s clear, we could use some starters, some relievers and offensively, although it’s been strength, there are always areas to improve there as well."
ON THE IMMEDIATE FUTURES OF TRAVIS SNIDER AND ERIC THAMES:
"Thames has definitely started to pick it up and get going. Travis has been up and down. He had a bIg home run two nights ago, but he’s been inconsistent and really hasn’t gotten hot. You’d like to get these guys up here when they are hot. If we would make a move with one of those guys the hope would be they are up here to stay,
"Right now offensively, we’re doing fine so there’s not maybe a sense of urgency to do something there. It’s something we continue to look at daily, but I don’t think there’s anything imminent at this point.