Marlins to sign Matt Downs to minor league contract

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According to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, the Marlins are close to signing Matt Downs to a minor league contract. He’s expected to get an invitation to spring training.

Downs, who turns 29 in March, batted .202/.253/.371 with eight home runs, 16 RBI and a .623 OPS in 191 plate appearances with the Astros last season. Originally drafted by the Giants back in 2006, he owns a .230/.296/.406 batting line in the majors.

Downs offers some pop from the right side and versatility between the infield and the outfield, so he could make the Marlins in a super-utility 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.