Mets sign Kiko Calero to minor-league deal

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Despite varying reports about his health status Kelvim Escobar seems likely to begin the season on the disabled list, so the Mets have smartly added another right-handed reliever by signing Kiko Calero to a minor-league contract.
Calero is 35 years old and also has a lengthy history of arm injuries, but the fact that he managed only a minor-league deal after posting a 1.95 ERA with 69 strikeouts and a .180 opponents’ batting average in 60 innings last season is pretty amazing.
He’s a big risk because that modest workload actually represented a career-high for Calero and he logged a grand total of just 4.2 innings in 2008, but when healthy he’s consistently been a quality setup man. Calero typically works in the high-80s with his fastball, but his low-80s slider is among the best in baseball and he’s racked up 324 strikeouts in 302.2 career innings along with a 3.24 ERA.
Given their recent track record with keeping players healthy Calero may give the Mets’ training staff a lot of trouble, but he’s an excellent low-cost pickup with a chance to make a big impact in a late-inning role.

Athletics release Santiago Casilla

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Athletics have released reliever Santiago Casilla. The club had designated him for assignment on Saturday.

Casilla, 37, posted a 3.16 ERA with 22 strikeouts and 20 walks in 31 1/3 innings of relief for the A’s in the first half. The ERA is certainly not bad, but the strikeout and walk rates are subpar and point to a pitcher who won’t be successful going forward without changing. Additionally, Casilla’s fastball velocity, at 92.9 MPH on average, is the lowest of his career.

Casilla is owed the remainder of his $5.5 million salary for the 2018 season. If he should sign elsewhere, the A’s would be on the hook for the remainder minus the prorated major league minimum salary.