Giants and Santiago Casilla agree to three-year extension

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UPDATE: Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle hears that the deal is worth around $15 million. Nothing to get too worked up about, but long-term deals for relievers can be risky business.

11:08 PM: Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com reports that the Giants and Sanitago Casilla have agreed to a three-year extension, pending a physical.

No word yet on the terms involved, but the deal includes a club/vesting option for 2016. Casilla was arbitration-eligible for the final time this winter after making $2.2 million in 2012, so the deal buys out at least his first two years of free agency.

Casilla owns a dominant 2.22 ERA in 74 appearances since joining the Giants in 2010. Only Mike Adams and Eric O’Flaherty have a lower ERA (min. 170 innings pitched) during the same timespan. The 32-year-old right-hander took over as the Giants’ closer this past season after Brian Wilson had Tommy John surgery, notching 25 saves in 31 chances, but he’s expected to pitch in a set-up capacity in 2013 now that Sergio Romo has staked claim to the role.

There is, indeed, an MLB-to-Portland group

Associated Press
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On Monday, Baseball American reported that MLB is prepared to expand to Portland and Montreal. We talked about that at length yesterday. One of the most common responses to that piece has been “Portland? Really?”

There’s good reason for that response. Baseball-to-Portland has been talked about for years, but there has never been any real traction. Past initiatives have failed, public funding for a stadium seems to be a political impossibility and, heck, Portland wasn’t even interested in keeping its Triple-A team, turning its stadium into a much more successful soccer venue and not missing the Beavers all that much.

It would seem, however, that the reports are not mere speculation and there is a genuine baseball-to-Portland initiative afoot once again. From the Oregonian:

On Tuesday, former Trail Blazers broadcaster Mike Barrett confirmed to The Oregonian/OregonLive that he is part of the Portland group.

“I am officially involved with a campaign to bring Major League Baseball and a stadium development to Portland,” Barrett said. “There is also a formally organized, sophisticated and seasoned management group running this initiative. We will keep you fully apprised of any/all developments as this project progresses.”

One guy — a broadcaster no less — saying he’s part of a group is not exactly a major needle-mover, of course. But it does contrast with past Portland initiatives that have been well-publicized grassroots affairs. While those may have been more broad-based and while their public nature may have provided some refreshing transparency, the simple fact of professional sports ownership in the 21st century is that well-monied groups who play things close to the vest are more likely to make waves. We’re in an age when technocratic hedge fund-type guys make things happen in this arena, not in an age when flamboyant public personalities do.

None of which is to say that baseball in Portland is a lock or that expansion anywhere is a short term proposition. It’s just to note that, yeah, there is a bit more going on, it seems, than just pointing at a map and saying “yeah, a team would make sense here.”