By now you’ve heard the news that the San Francisco Giants and reliever Santiago Casilla agreed on terms for a new three year contract extension. The deal, which was reportedly a three year extension, is worth $14 million which includes a vesting $1 million dollar option for 2016, if the Giants want to part ways before that final year.
The deal buys out what would be Casilla’s final year of arbitration as well as two free agent years, which will make Casilla 34 at the end of the 2015 season, 35 if the Giants opt to retain Santiago in 2016.
Despite some ill-timed meltdown’s, Casilla’s numbers have been nothing short of remarkable during his three years as a Giant as he’s posted a 2.22 ERA in 170.1 innings and an equally impressive 1.18 WHIP, numbers well worthy of the money Casilla commanded and received.
Still, you wont find many Giant fans that don’t bite their nails at the sight of Santiago warming up in the ‘pen – a trust that even the loyal Bruce Bochy had to waiver on this past season as Casilla was moved out of the closer role and was replaced by Sergio Romo.
Personally, I’ve always felt that Casilla is a much better set-up type, a guy that can get you through the sixth or seventh innings en route to your more official set-up man and closer. I wouldn’t exactly clarify him as middle relief, if you will, but he’s somebody I like (and think he flourishes) in a role prior to the eighth or ninth innings.
Looking at Casilla’s numbers in the 7th inning for his career, they’re slightly tough to gauge as his ERA is oddly the highest of any late inning situation (he holds a career 2.39 ERA in the 7th), but his career BAA and OBPA are the lowest of any of his innings – holding batters to a .223 average and a .299 OBP, both lower than any other inning on his career resume. Still, I’d expect the Giants to use him in the 8th and 9th much more than my personal desire, which is the 7th.
There’s no doubt it was a costly move to keep Casilla, but given the uncertainty of the Giants’ bullpen situation and the unknown if Brian Wilson will return (or even how healthy he’d be, if he did) it’s a move the Giants had to make. Casilla’s been very useful, despite the high stress situation he seems to continually find himself in during his tenure in orange and black and given everything, it’s a good move for both parties.