Although Casey Janssen won’t be joining the Los Angeles Dodgers after signing a deal with the Washington Nationals, another former Toronto Blue Jay reliever has the opportunity to be on the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Opening Day roster.
After the Blue Jays decided not to pick up his $6 million option, the Dodgers signed the pitcher to a minor-league contract. The Dodger bullpen could use some improvement but competition limits Santos’ chances of competing for a spot.
Despite the rough path ahead, Santos is no stranger to adversity having to switch positions just to get shot at the big leagues. According to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times, Santos’ decision to become a pitcher was an extremely difficult one:
“I didn’t get sleep for a good four nights,” Santos said. “It was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make.”
Santos began his career as an infielder but struggled at the plate. His lack of growth forced him to to bounce around the minors despite being considered a rising prospect early on. The Chicago White Sox recommended Santos to make the switch in 2008, but it wasn’t until the next year that Santos converted to a pitcher. After just one year, he made his major league debut in 2010 and appeared in 56 games while pitching with a 2.56 ERA.
Following the 2011 season, Santos was traded to the Blue Jays but suffered through injuries over the next three years. Now as a Dodger, he looks to overcome adversity once again. With the injuries hopefully behind him, Santos will come into Spring Training trying to prove he still has what it takes to be a major league pitcher.
He will have the chance when pitchers and catchers report to Camelback Ranch February 19. If he makes the opening day roster, Santos has the opportunity to help the Dodgers win their first championship since 1988.