Mike Fontenot and San Francisco avoided arbitration with a one-year, $1.05 million deal in December, but the Giants have decided not to guarantee that salary by keeping him as a bench bat and instead released the veteran infielder.
Fontenot played poorly last season, but got into 85 games and logged 252 plate appearances. Barring a last-minute change Fontenot lost the utility infielder job to Ryan Theriot, who actually posted a lower OPS than he did last season and has a lower career mark.
Theriot has significantly more experience than Fontenot at shortstop, but at age 32 he’s far from a good option there.
On the other hand, the Giants are very familiar with Fontenot’s flaws after watching him every day for the past two seasons. They’ve only had a first-hand look at Theriot for a month. And the move to cut Fontenot saves them about $750,000.
According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, free agent reliever Joba Chamberlain has a deal with the Brewers. No confirmation or terms of the contract have been confirmed by the team yet.
Chamberlain, 31, had a promising resurgence in the Indians’ bullpen during 2016. He shaved his ERA down to a modest 2.25 mark over 20 innings with Cleveland, paired with an 8.1 SO/9 and less-than-stellar 5.0 BB/9 rate. Over a decade in the major leagues, the right-hander holds a career 3.81 ERA, 8.8 SO/9 and 3.7 BB/9 rate.
The veteran righty was released by the Indians in July after refusing re-assignment. He’s expected to compete for a major league role this spring.
After letting rumors of the deal percolate for the last week, the Athletics officially announced their two-year, $11 million contract with right-hander Santiago Casilla on Friday (and threw a little bit of shade at the Giants, too). As previously reported, the contract includes an extra $3 million in performance bonuses.
Casilla, 36, got his major league start with Oakland back in 2004, racking up a 5.11 ERA and four saves over six seasons in the A’s bullpen. After picking up a minor league deal with the Giants in 2010, the righty flitted in and out of the closing role with varying degrees of success. Notwithstanding a slight downturn in his production rate during the 2016 season, he earned 123 saves and a 2.42 ERA during the past seven years in San Francisco. Securing another closing role might be a little tougher across the Bay, however, with a bullpen that includes fellow closers Ryan Madson, Ryan Dull and Sean Doolittle.