Remember how I mentioned earlier that Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot were likely the favorites to share playing time at second base now that Freddy Sanchez is expected to begin the season on disabled list? Apparently not.
Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports that the Giants are telling teams that they are shopping both Theriot and Fontenot. It’s not clear who may have interest, but Stark mentions the Braves and Phillies as potential fits.
Why are the Giants so willing to trade these guys? Good question. Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com was told today by a source that Emmanuel Burriss would be the Opening Day second baseman if the Giants had to choose right now.
Burriss, who is out of options this spring, is batting .436 (17-for-39) with five doubles, one triple, two RBI and five stolen bases during Cactus League action. However, the 27-year-old infieler owns a pretty lousy .250/.311/.281 batting line and a .592 OPS over 651 plate appearances in the major leagues.
Theriot is set to earn $1.25 million this season while Fontenot will make $1.05 million, but their contracts are non-guaranteed. The Giants will surely try to find a suitor over the next few days, but as Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle noted yesterday, they have the option to release either of them by March 29 and recoup three-quarters of their salary for 2012.
The Padres may have some interest in acquiring Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, according to a recent report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It seems unlikely that the team would deal their starting third baseman with J.P. Crawford (fractured left hand) sidelined through July; to that end, however, they signed infielder Danny Espinosa as minor league depth on Friday and have reportedly been eying the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, among other veteran options.
Franco, 25, entered Sunday batting .255/.297/.425 with nine home runs and a .721 OPS in 229 plate appearances this season. While he has yet to live up to the .280+ average, 1.9+ fWAR he posted during his rookie campaign, he’s been a solid 20+ home run producer over the last few years and shown some stability at the hot corner. He’s also under team control for the next three years and could provide some much-needed insurance behind the Padres’ current third base option, 27-year-old Christian Villanueva.
Rosenthal notes that the Phillies could strike a deal for one of San Diego’s relievers, though no one specific has been connected to the team yet — and the club probably wouldn’t be able to finesse a one-for-one deal given the quality of the Padres’ pitchers. The Phillies’ bullpen has looked downright abysmal over the last month, placing 11th-worst in the league with a collective 5.34 ERA and 0.3 fWAR. Their failure to procure a viable reliever beyond Seranthony Dominguez, Victor Arano and Edubray Ramos lends a certain urgency to any potential deal they make over the next few weeks, though the official trade deadline is still over a month away.