Does Trading Sergio Santos Mean White Sox Rebuilding?

Sergio Santos of the Chicago White Sox delivers against the Colorado Rockies during Interleague play at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado. Santos earned a save as the Whote Sox defeated the Rockies 6-4 in 10 innings. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Trading closer Sergio Santos for a minor-league starting pitcher seems like a strange move for a team that generally tries to contend every season. What are the White Sox up to?

So, you may count me among the observers who don't quite understand why the Chicago White Sox would trade closer Sergio Santos for Double-A pitching prospect Nestor Molina.

Granted, Molina's a fine prospect. As John Sickels writes, "If anything, Molina still doesn't get the respect he deserves as a prospect. I currently have him rated as a Grade B+ prospect."

Of course, Santos is significantly better than a Grade B+ prospect. Santos, still with very little experience as a pitcher, has struck out 12 batters every nine innings in his brief career. He's not young but he's still cheap, and has a chance to rank among the game's best relief pitchers over the next few years (and beyond, but then he won't be cheap).

There are supposedly scouts who think Molina's going to be a relief pitcher in the majors; if that happens, this deal looks pretty foolish. If Molina becomes a decent starter in the majors, this deal might look pretty good for the White Sox. But even then, it wouldn't look good until 2014 or '15 at the earliest.

Kenny Williams is either rebuilding, or is the Most Interesting Man in the World.

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