San Francisco Giants avoid arbitration with RHP George Kontos

By Vince Cestone

The San Francisco Giants have avoided arbitration with right-handed reliever George Kontos, agreeing on a one-year deal worth $1.15 million, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

Kontos had asked the Giants for $1.35 million, but the team wanted to pay him $850,000 for 2016. The two sides ended up agreeing to $50,000 above the midpoint between the two figures.

It appears Kontos’ raise was justified. He quietly had a solid year out of the bullpen for the Giants.

Kontos went 4-4 in 2015, with a 2.33 ERA in 73 appearances. He earned $517,000 in 2015.

If the 30-year-old carries over his strong 2015 season into 2016, the Giants could have a great middle reliever who can be a bridge to Sergio Romo, Hunter Strickland, and Santiago Casilla. Kontos owned an impressive 0.941 WHIP last season, while giving up only 57 hits in 73.1 innings pitched.

While Kontos only averaged 5.4 strikeouts per nine innings, he only allowed 24.1 percent of inherited runners to score (13/54). That was good for 14th in the National League.

In fact, Kontos did not allow an inherited runner to score last year until late


Kontos’ bullpen mate, Strickland, led the league with only allowing 12.9 percent of inherited runners to score (4/31).

Kontos has had a solid five-year major league career. He owns a career 2.99 ERA, with only 179 hits given up in 210.2 career innings.

Kontos owns a career ERA+ of 121 and WHIP of 1.116. He’s also been known to throw strikes, with 2.4 walks per nine innings in his career and a career 3-1 strikeout to walk ratio.

With Kontos manning a middle relief role, the Giants’ 2016 bullpen could look something like this:

LR: Chris Heston

MR: Javier Lopez

MR: Hunter Strickland

MR: Josh Osich

MR: George Kontos

SU: Sergio Romo

CP: Santiago Casilla

With nearly the same cast of relievers returning in 2016, minus Jeremy Affeldt, the Giants’ bullpen outlook looks good for this upcoming season. The Giants had a bullpen ERA of 3.33 last season, good for third in the league, and their relievers held teams to a .236 average.

With a strengthened starting rotation full of innings eaters, this should put less stress on the pen, making San Francisco relievers that much more effective in 2016.