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.
Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.
Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.
The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.