Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Giants Sign Moto, Invite to Spring Training

Baggarly reported that the "Giants signed RHP Guillermo Mota to a minor league deal and invited him to big league camp." He's 36 YO but had a great season last year for the D-gers, with a 3.44 ERA in 61 games, averaging more than one inning per outing, and even did well against LHH.

Unlike Kim or Ramirez, he's being invited to the big league camp, so he's a more significant addition than either of them, particularly since he was actually successfully performing last season. As Baggarly noted, if he can duplicate his performance, he would essentially replace Bob Howry, who signed with the D-backs (good luck in a hitter's park!).

Baseball Forecaster (just got it, hot off the presses!) is a bit down on him, though. They project a 4.03 ERA and 1.31 WHIP vs. his 3.45 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in 2009. And that makes sense, his numbers the previous four seasons are not that good, making 2009 an anomaly, though perhaps he was learning and changing as he improved in 2008 and improved further in 2009, on an overall basis. In addition, as they note, his declining strikeout rate "is a bad sign for a pitcher who has always lived and died by the K." Downside: 5+ ERA, 1.50+ WHIP.

A drop in performance makes sense in general because LA has an extreme pitcher's park, so Mota moving anywhere else would be expected to not do as well as he did in LA. And that is shown by his splits: he had a 2.21 ERA at home, but 5.02 ERA on the road. And his strikeout rate was horrible on the road. Another bad note is that he has been horrible when pitching in AT&T. He has also been bad in AZ and SD as well, plus of course COL.

Giants Thoughts

I would not put a lot of hope into Mota being the final piece of the 2010 Giants' bullpen but it does not cost much to sign him and have him around in case he can deliver.

It would be nice if one of these minor league signings work out but the fact that they are signed to minor league contracts show how unlikely they are to produce, else they would have gotten a major league contract. Like throwing spaghetti to the wall and seeing what sticks. That is how we got Yabu a couple of years ago, Medders and Miller last year, Jeff Fassero and Tyler Walker previously.

We also have internal candidates battling for a bullpen spot: Alex Hinshaw, Waldis Joaquin, Geno Espinelli, and Steve Edlefson, and perhaps someone among Dan Otero, Joe Paterson, and Henry Sosa.

In addition, Henry Schulman reported that:
The Giants also signed several six-year free agents to minor-league contracts and invited them to camp, which is how they got the successful duo of Medders and Justin Miller last year. They include Denny Bautista, Santiago Casilla, Osiris Matos (who came up through the Giants' system), Tony Peña Jr. and Felix Romero
Them, plus Kim and Ramirez, makes for a pretty big group of players battling for a bullpen spot. I'm still hopeful about Matos - I'm still not sure why he was DFA'ed last season nor why no team took a flyer on him - but he has done very well in the minors and in AAA, and I'm glad he decided to come back to the Giants and give it another shot. One of my prospect books thought that he had the stuff to be a closer at some point, so maybe he can harness that in 2010 for us.

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