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.
The Marlins designated utilityman Derek Dietrich for assignment, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports. This comes amid a flurry of moves on Tuesday night as teams prepare their rosters ahead of the Rule 5 draft next month.
Dietrich, 29, is coming off another strong season in which he hit .265/.330/.421 with 16 home runs, 45 RBI, and 72 runs scored in 551 plate appearances. He played all over the diamond, spending most of his time in left field and at first base. Dietrich also played some second base, third base, and right field.
Dietrich is entering his third of four years of arbitration eligibility. He earned $2.9 million this past season and MLB Trade Rumors projects him to earn $4.8 million in 2019. Cutting Dietrich represents a bit more than 4 million in savings for the rebuilding and perennially small-market Marlins. Dietrich should draw some interest, so the Marlins could end up trading him rather soon.
Wonder how J.T. Realmuto, now the longest-tenured Marlin, is feeling right about now.