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.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Angels and reliever Cody Allen are in agreement on a one-year contract, pending a physical. The value of the contract is not yet known.
Allen, 30, was looking for an opportunity to close and the Angels can certainly provide that. He will likely be the favorite to break camp as the closer. 2018 was the roughest year of his career, however, as he finished with a 4.70 ERA, 27 saves, and a 80/33 K/BB ratio in 67 innings. Among Allen’s six full seasons, his 27.7 strikeout rate and 11.4 percent walk rate represented career-worsts. FanGraphs also shows him losing nearly a full MPH on his average fastball velocity.
The Angels lost closer Keynan Middleton to Tommy John surgery early last season and he likely won’t return until the second half of the 2019 season. Blake Parker, who handled save situations in Middleton’s place, was non-tendered by the Angels in November and ended up signing with the Twins. The closer’s role is Allen’s to lose, it seems.