Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Your 2013 Giants: Casilla Signed for 3 Years, $15M

Avoiding arbitration, the Giants signed du jour closer Santiago Casilla to a 3 years, $15M contract, which has a vesting option for the fourth year, which is currently a team option with $1M buyout (Baggarly, Schulman, Pavlovic, Haft).  It is still pending a physical, but those are generally a legal formality.

This sews up his last arbitration year plus two free agent years and controls a third year as well.   This also covers returning the last important piece of the bullpen, as now Romo, Affeldt, Lopez, Casilla, are signed and Kontos and Mijares are controlled, leaving a spot open for competition, as Mota is not expected back (nor was he that important either).  Also, Shane Loux was resigned recently as well.

ogc thoughts

Another dotted i and crossed t.  The bullpen is now pretty set (not that it wasn't before, as the Giants did tender a contract) with only one spot open.   With Hembree, Otero, Hacker, Loux, Machi, and Runzler still around, I assume the Giants are keeping that last position open for competition, as they usually do when they have a number of prospects on the cusp of reaching the majors.  That is why I think they most likely will keep LF open as well.  Of course, if a great option for either becomes available for a great low price pre-spring training, things could change, but for now, competition appears likely.

I like the deal, even though it covers ages 32 to 34 and could include 35.   Relievers are generally reliable into their mid-30's.  The concern is that Casilla has had injury problems in the past and includes his blister problem in 2012, when he was pushed to 73 appearances, a giant leap in usage over his previous years of around 50 games and 50 IP, but his usage was more Roogy in that he only pitched 63.1 IP.  

Casilla has been an integral part of the Giants bullpen since he joined the Giants.  He turned his career around when he came up with a devastating spike curve that complemented his mid-90's fastball, something the A's apparently was not aware of when they let him go (one would think that he could not have added such a great pitch so quickly once the Giants signed him, but I'm not sure of the timing of this addition).  That led to his 2.22 ERA in three seasons with the Giants and two World Champion rings.

I think the Giants are going to go with a closer du jour usage pattern during 2013 in order to save Romo's arm, which has always been iffy because of his slider.  That fits with Casilla's problems with his blister when he became full-time closer last season.  Spread the duty around - including Affeldt and Lopez - so that if one part goes down, there are the others to keep it going.  Could be the first successful bullpen by committee over a full season if they can pull it off.


  1. This signing pretty much closes the door on a Brian Wilson return. I still wonder about Romo's arm durability, but there are plenty of solid arms in the pen. However, none of which are traditional pure closer material. Perhaps they are trying to bridge the gap to Hembree, hoping that he is going to develop into that guy.

    1. I still think the Giants will sign Wilson if he relents and access the low base incentives contract. After all, they were willing to do that when they let him go and we still had Casilla at that point too, this signing does not change anything with regards to Wilson.

      None are traditional pure closer materials, but then again, what the Giants did in 2012 was not traditional pure closer management.

      I agree that Hembree is the guy they are developing to take over the closer position, just as Wilson was "the man" while rising up. And he was on the path to doing that once Wilson got to free agency, but then Wilson came up lame and then Hembree too, who probably would have seen time in the majors in 2012 had he not gotten injured.

  2. Hembree can roll on the Wilson train now. Back and forth to Fresno as he gets low leverage tastes against big league hitters. Sounds good.

    Romo gets coverage, both nights off to rest him, and insurance against his trick knee. Sounds good.

    Tad expensive, but the Giants are swimming in cash. It won't break the bank. Look at what other RH relievers are getting in this market. Sounds good.

    Will I be psyched as he takes the bump? Nope. But when are we ever psyched when relievers come on in? Romo is most likely the most calm I've been in a long time actually. Shooter, Nen, Wilson? Nope, nope and nope.

    Giants don't need to go scrap heap hunting, they have a guy who they found! It's been pointed out to me he doesn't throw 95 anymore, its more like 93. Still, he's got the biggest arm in the Giants pen currently. Sounds good.

    1. I mostly agree.

      I don't see it as expensive, that is what good relievers get, he probably got less than he could have, but that's because he got 3 years plus a vestable option, length is more the issue, but he'll be 34 in the last year, 35 in the option year, and most pitchers are reliable to their mid-30's.

      Good point about not being psyched, I don't think I was ever that psyched for any closer, people selectively remember good or bad performances for closers, not realizing that most closers have similar performances. And calmness don't really fit with when men are on base.

      Velocity is not the key to Casilla anyway. It was the spike curve that made him a deadly reliever for the Giants, else the A's would have never let him go as he had velocity back then too. And he had a 1.32 ERA to June 18th and 1.82 ERA over the last two months, much like when he was healthy in 2010 and 2011. That inbetween period was when he was injured and trying to pitch with it, when he shouldn't have. And really, from June 19th to July 18th, 10.57 ERA for the month, that killed his seasonal ERA, else over the other five months, he was what he was for us in 2010 and 2011, a great reliever.

      A great reliever like he was in those two seasons is a bargain at $5M per season.

    2. You're right. I've looked at the market some more, and for the stats Casilla has put up as well as his scouting profile, he is definitely worth it, and could well be a bargain in the end. I have my personal biases, but those are just that, personal biases. Casilla has done way more good than bad, and if he is returned to that 8th inning role, should be a very solid signing.

      Gints just waiver claimed Sandy Rosario, who got passed around and finally made it to NL waivers. Trying to sneak a 95 MPH guy by Los Gigantes? What are they thinking? Looks like a guy who needs to learn how to pitch down in the zone a bit.

      Here's a scouting report on him, he was immediately added to the 40-man, which stands at 38 at the moment.


    3. Wow, Rosario has actually been a pretty good pitcher, peripherals-wise, high K (though not really high like you want to see in minors) plus high K/BB. He was actually great in AAA in 2012, as well.

      Look at his waiver trail though: http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2012/12/giants-claim-sandy-rosario.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+MlbTradeRumors+%28MLB+Trade+Rumors%29

      He's competing with Eli Whiteside for most travelled in terms of teams in one off-season!

      His issue has been that he has given up way too many hits for what he is doing. My brain is exploding trying to figure out the scenario for that. He's good enough to strike out a good number while not walking many, but hitters got his number enough that his BABIP has been off the charts all through much of his career. Plus his GB% has been great in few MLB outings but not that great in the minors.

      Hopefully the Giants and their scouts see a flaw that they can fix by teaching him a new pitch, or how he pitches to batters, or something. Because otherwise, I'm not sure why teams gave up on him, other than that he'll be 27 next season. He doesn't seem that far away from being a productive reliever.

      And funny how the A's traded to get him from Boston, who got him from the Marlins, then was with the Cubs before the Giants got him. So, so far, only the A's are really out something in this chain of ownership.

      Thanks, very interesting!

  3. The Giants go against the prevailing wisdom that relievers are fungible. When they get a guy they like they commit to him. Hey, it works. They seem to know who to keep and who to let go. Casilla got a lot of big outs for the club over the last few years, just like Romo, Affeldt and Lopez. We'll see more of the same in 2013. Deep rotation and a deep 'pen--not many teams can match that.

    1. Yes, clearly, the Giants go against the saber-wisdom that relievers are fungible, very good point. They do seem to know that, don't they?

      Thanks for the comment.

  4. The Giants were going to have to pay KCya $5MM this year anyway, so the deal is really 2 years/10 MM after 2013. Essentially, market rater for his mid 30s years, and the option to keep him in 2016 if he continues what he's done. His BB% isn't good, but he's a durable power arm that we can probably count on most of the season. He's worth, on average, about 0.7-0.9 WAR, so $5MM is pretty fair. I'm ok with this contract.

    I don't think this precludes Weezy coming back either. He needs to find out that nobody is going to give him much more than $3MM for one year. When he discovers that, he just might decide to re-sign with the only team that will put up with the Fear The Beard shenanigans.

    1. Good point about the money and years!

      His BB% isn't good, but studies have shown that walks are a big problem overall if the pitcher is striking out at least twice as many batters, and he's been doing that for his SF career.

      Exactly about Wilson, I think he can still come back, it is up to him learning about the market.

      However, I think other teams would have no problem with the Fear the Beard stuff, just look at "the Mad Hungarian" for someone with a weird closer act, or even Mark the Bird Fidyrich, there have been examples of teams putting up with stuff.

      I think it is the wearing the Captain's jacket and hat to a TV interview, or the Machine prancing back in the background, or any of the other, what other would consider "weird" acts that would qualify for the Giants being uniquely qualified for putting up with his act.

      However, I would note that LA might be a market and team also uniquely qualified to understand such behavior since he's clearly marketing himself in a Hollywood kind of way. Hence why I was afraid that the Dodgers might snap him up quickly. I guess they are not totally throwing their money around.

  5. Both LA teams have passed on Weez, as have the Red Sox. So, as I said: there isn't really a team out there that is going to want to take on the two TJ surgeries and the circus that is The Beard. I expect he'll be back with the Giants at $3MM plus incentives.

  6. This just in: doyers still considering Weezy:


    1. Yeah, until Wilson signs, I think he can go anywhere. As much I don't want to see him in another uni, particularly Dodger Blues, he appears to be jilted enough that he's not coming back to the Giants. But we had no choice but to let him go, it was a smart business move.

      Too bad he can't see that. Or maybe he's doing it to get the Giants to offer more to get him back. He was born in New Hampshire or Massachusetts (former BB-ref, later, BB Almanac). Almanac notes his HS was in New Hampsire. So I wonder if he's hoping to get something with the Red Sox, he might take less to be with them. And as noted before, I think LA is a locale that would feed his need for attention.

      Check out his goatee on his rookie card at this site: http://www.baseball-almanac.com/players/player.php?p=wilsobr01

    2. Oh yeah, should have said "Thanks" first, much appreciated.



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