Will Fontenot Become Trade Bait For Cubs?

Second baseman Mike Fontenot may not fit in with the Cubs' long-term plans if Starlin Castro lives up to expectations, writes Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.  Castro has knocked Fontenot out of the starting lineup as he has taken over at shortstop with Ryan Theriot taking over at second.

Even though Fontenot has been sent to the bench, he has been decent offensively with an OPS+ of 96.  In 80 plate appearances, the soon-to-be 30-year-old is hitting .315/.363/.397, a slash line that is a significant step-up from his posting in 2009.   For his career, he has a 10.7 UZR/150 at his preferred position.

Fontenot is set to earn $1MM this season after avoiding arbitration with the Cubs this winter.  He became arbitration-eligible for the first time in his career when he was awarded Super Two status in November of 2009.


49 Responses to Will Fontenot Become Trade Bait For Cubs? Leave a Reply

  1. catch21_2 5 years ago

    I’m not sure, but I don’t think he has much value.

  2. Ryan Theriot would have more trade value, and he’s wasted at second base since he’s a plus defensive shortstop.

    • Theriot is NOT a plus defensive shortstop. He’s worked hard and improved to an average, at best, defensive shortstop. His main problem is a complete lack of range. He’s much better suited to play 2b.

      • Multiple statistical systems disagree with you; The Fielding Bible and UZR both have him at approximately five runs above average (per season), and the sample size is well past the point where the data becomes reliable.

      • studio179 5 years ago

        You have it right. Theriot’s range is limited at SS. Throw out stats averaged from the past couple years. This year he looks like his average abilities at SS have caught up with him in the field. His fielding range was better in ’09 and ’08. Many times he cheats in the hole and still can not throw out the runner ‘IF’ he gets to it. I notice he cheats to the hole. My guess is partially because of his limited range and to help out Ramirez. The Cubs don’t want Ram diving around and mess up his shoulder again. So, more grounders are also getting up the middle into CF. Theriot added some muscle to his frame this year. Your point on working on his hitting is correct, but his defensive range has taken a hit.

        Theriot at SS 2010:

        RngR= -2.9
        UZR= -2.7
        UZR/150= -13.9

        • UZR doesn’t stabilize until you get to about three seasons of data. That sample size is like looking at 50 at bats for a hitter… virtually meaningless. It’s best to average the last three years to get a picture of the player’s defense.

          • studio179 5 years ago

            I realize that with UZR. The problem is ‘averaging’ a stat over a few years does nothing for this year. Theriot is clearly not getting to balls or not getting throws off when he does get to them for the reasons I explained. He bulked up…not massive, but placed muscle on his frame and has lost range. Again, this year, not an average over time. Not throwing a wise crack here, I’m serious. If you can find a scouting report or any baseball exec saying Ryan Theriot is anything more than an average SS with so-so range, three years ago or today, please let me know.

  3. When your second basemen is Luis Castillo and his replacement is Alex Cora, you should be making a move…

    • Was gonna say the same thing. But the Mets have Ruben Tejada in AAA and he wouldn’t be a bad replacement IMO.

      Definitely the best defensive 2B/SS out of everyone mentioned.

      • Good point…it’s about time they bring up Tejada and Nick Evans…cut Cora and Matthews.

        • Yeah. Doubt they cut Cora though. Management loves him.

          They need to cut Frank Cattalanato and GMJ. They’re TERRIBLE.

          Call up Chris Carter who is killing it in AAA and Jason Pridie or Jesus Feliciano.

          • East Coast Bias 5 years ago

            Then just keep Cora as a consultant or something, not a player.

  4. lefty58 5 years ago

    There are very few players in Chicago, on either side of town, who shouldn’t be traded.

    • studio179 5 years ago

      And get what for them? Trading low brings little value back.

      Trade Castro now before he realizes he is a Cub. lol. kidding.

  5. jammin502 5 years ago

    Fontenot and Baker both have some trade value. The way the season is going, there should be some other players on the block as well. With Colvin and Nady, the Cubs should see what is available for Fukudome. Another idea might be to move Derrek Lee and let Nady play first or bring up Hoffpauir to finish out the season. The farm system is looking good and some more prospects could put the Cubs in a good position for the future.

  6. If you watch Fontenot on a daily basis, he really sucks. He should have been non-tendered this offseason. Wasting $1 million on a player like Fontenot is one of the reasons Jim Hendry should get the axe.

    • better than 2 million on Alex Cora, trust me…

      • diehardmets 5 years ago

        When you’re the Mets, its not as bad. Yes they’re overpaying. But he is such a brilliant club house guy and is a fine replacement defender so he’s worth at least 1 mil. I was angry at Omar for overpaying, but it isn’t so incredibly bad.

  7. cubs223425 5 years ago

    I would think their preference would be to package Gorzelanny and Baker for a good setup guy. Since Baker, Castro, and Theriot are all righties, trading the 1 lefty doesn’t make much sense.

    • I hope they aren’t planning on trading Gorz. He’s looking like another steal from Pittsburgh, and he’s under team control for a few more years.

      • One of the smartest moves the Cubs ever made was not sending Gorzelanny to the bullpen when Ted Lilly came off the DL. As stated above, Gorzo is yet another stolen player from the Pirates.

    • As a Cubs and Rangers fan, I like the idea of Baker and Gorzellany. How about right handed relievers Frank Francisco and Dustin Nippert?

  8. Trious 5 years ago

    Trade bait? What exactly would the Cubs be reeling in with him?

    • Grade C prospects and/or bench players, I would assume.

      The Astros could use a lefty hitting second baseman who doesn’t suck. Could be a fit to platoon with Jeff Keppinger. Intra-division trades are tough to pull off though.

    • Grade C prospects and/or bench players, I would assume.

      The Astros could use a lefty hitting second baseman who doesn’t suck. Could be a fit to platoon with Jeff Keppinger. Intra-division trades are tough to pull off though.

    • The Rangers might give a little something for Baker

  9. Trious 5 years ago

    Trade bait? What exactly would the Cubs be reeling in with him?

  10. bucs2011 5 years ago

    yeah pirates suck huh…..funny how they just swept the cubs….who by the way…got real old real quick……a ram..d.lee…soriano…zombrano..etc…oh and met guy,,,,hows jason bay workin out for you…he might hit 15 to 20 hrs this year….playin in tht park with those dimensions…ask david wright…it isnt shea huh

    • ChiCubs13 5 years ago

      The Pirates don’t suck, but they aren’t that good either. And by no way am I saying the Cubs are World Series lock. The Cubs are going to be up and down all season long. Yes, some of the players have gotten old, but it is only the first month of the season. Aramis is still hurt but not saying anything, Derrek is having a slow start. Soriano is actually having a decent year so far so to say he’s bad right now is not correct. Zambrano did not get demoted to the pen, he is there to try and stablize it. You witnessed how bad the bullpen is after giving up a close game. So think before you post statements that aren’t necessarily true.

    • ChiCubs13 5 years ago

      The Pirates don’t suck, but they aren’t that good either. And by no way am I saying the Cubs are World Series lock. The Cubs are going to be up and down all season long. Yes, some of the players have gotten old, but it is only the first month of the season. Aramis is still hurt but not saying anything, Derrek is having a slow start. Soriano is actually having a decent year so far so to say he’s bad right now is not correct. Zambrano did not get demoted to the pen, he is there to try and stablize it. You witnessed how bad the bullpen is after giving up a close game. So think before you post statements that aren’t necessarily true.

  11. bigpat 5 years ago

    I don’t understand why the Pirates got rid of Gorzo. It just seems like sometimes the front office and coaches have vendettas against certain players. Yes, he had a rough season but was hurt and game off a huge year in innings. Give him a chance instead of just shipping him off for nothing. He would be the best pitcher on the team right now, and that is pretty sad.

  12. crunchy1 5 years ago

    Ideally, they’d like to get someone who can help them in the bullpen right now but I”m assuming the Cubs would be happy to clear a roster space, $1M off the books and pick up a lower level prospect if they trade Fontenot. The Cubs have had some success picking up relative unknowns with upside while dumping off unwanted second basemen. They acquired Kevin Hart for Freddy Bynum, and later converted Hart into Gorzelanny, arguably their best starting pitcher this year. They also got Jose Ceda, once among their top prospects, for a washed up Todd Walker. Other players, like top OF prospect Kyler Burke and Fontenot himself (along with J.Hairston), were acquired for washed up useless veterans Michael Barrett and Sammy Sosa, respectively. I wouldn’t rule out the Cubs getting someone useful for Fontenot, who at least can still play and start for a few teams. If nothing else, scouting the deeper levels of the minors is one of their few strengths. I’m not saying they’ll get a star, but they’ve gotten some decent players with upside, some of whom became trade chips for other deals.

    • valpohistory 5 years ago

      While you are certainly correct on Hendry sometimes being able to acquire hidden gems for players, he often screws it up. He then traded Ceda for Gregg, Josh Donaldson is catching in the majors in Oakland now that Suzuki is hurt (not exactly catching the world by fire with his bat, but by all accounts doing a nice job with the staff). Lately, he has been getting fleeced. I hope he can grab a solid pitching prospect or catcher. Seems like they need some depth at those positions in the lower levels.

      • crunchy1 5 years ago

        He did screw up Ceda for Gregg…but Donaldson, really? The Cubs got Harden in that deal and it looked like they were in position to make a run in the postseason. Donaldson has never been considered a defensive player. I find it odd that every time an offensive player like Donaldson struggles, we hear about how he’s doing so well with the other facets of the game. It’s as if they have to justify why he’s in the lineup. Soto is a much better young catcher than Donaldson, who’s really adding up to be a backup catcher right now.

        The Cubs have a few backup catching prospects of their own, starting with Robinson Chirinos at AA (.386 OBP/.591 Slugging), who can hit but more importantly, is truly considered a good defensive catcher. I’d make that deal over again in a heartbeat, especially considering the position we were in at the time.

        • I like Chirinos. What could the Rangers give for him? Say…Willie Eyre?

          • crunchy1 5 years ago

            I wouldn’t put anything past Hendry but, even with the presence of Soto, I’d be very disappointed if the Cubs traded Chirinos (or any decent prospect for that matter) for a mediocre at best reliver. They have plenty of those already. At any rate, there is no incentive for trading Chirinos at this time. He’s got plenty of time, he’s not taking up a spot on the 40 man roster (yet). Things may change by next offseason because the Cubs make bonehead roster decisions all the time, but right now they would seem to have no reason to deal him.

          • I agree, I think it had been 40 years of mostly bonehead moves. Example: Cubs now have about $60 million of underperforming, non movable players. Teams shouldnt pay so much for so long. Aramis and Lee are good players, but pay should be tied to performance. Same goes for all the teams, but not all the teams spend so much. Cubs should go more with their farm system. Example: Rangers.

            Also, Cubs need set up guys, but have pitchers in minors who are better than some of the major league bullpen guys.

          • Maybe Warner Madrigal and Eyre for Chirinos and Baker?

          • crunchy1 5 years ago

            The Cubs have been building a respectable farm system over the past three years, but they can’t go more with their farm system if they’re going to trade prospects for middle relievers. If it were me in charge, those types of deals would never happen.

          • Zumi10 5 years ago

            CRUNCHY FOR GM!!!

        • valpohistory 5 years ago

          I only say Donaldson because he is in the majors and we have neither of the pitchers we got in the deal anymore. Plus, that Gregg deal is terrible, so any good that he could have created in that deal for Harden was erased when he traded Ceda

        • valpohistory 5 years ago

          I wonder if Chirinos will end up being anything. Do you think that he will really end up being a decent player eventually or will he continue to be a career minor leaguer? Granted, he didn’t hit as an infielder but perhaps he will end up being a utility infielder when he gets to the majors because he can catch and play all over the field.

          • crunchy1 5 years ago

            I look at the deals separately. Different players were involved. One was a good deal for where we were at the time (and that hasn’t come back to bite us in the long term either) and the other was just ill-advised. Then again, if we had Gregg right now, we wouldn’t be so worried about our bullpen! Remember how Gregg was supposed to get obliterated in the AL East? 😉

            I think Chirinos will be a nice player off the bench for some team. His versatility and good defense will be a plus, and I think he’ll hit enough to keep working. He’s had some good peripherals as a hitter in the past so I don’t think this is out of the blue. He’s kind of a late bloomer. His ascent reminds me a bit of Theriot’s…workmanlike, taking every step up the ladder. From non-prospect to so-so prospect to backup hopeful and, in Theriot’s case, to starter. If Koyie Hill or Soto goes down, Chirinos would probably get the call at this point, though the Cubs inexplicably put Welington Castillo on their 40 man roster instead.

  13. AZ Cubnut 5 years ago

    I agree w/cocacolakid, Fontenot is brutal! Trade him while whatever value he has is at a high. We Cub faithful are always over-hyping the talent. Let’s not fall prey to it again. I’m for cleaning out some dollars, knowing they’d have to eat some as well, to get a fresh look at things. This act is stale. Rational Cubby Nation would prefer to see a fresh act, that understandably would struggle, but be fun to watch vs. this zomby-like appearance put forth from the current mix.

  14. drett69 5 years ago

    Get rid of A-Ram while he still has a leg to stand on….this will clear up some nice money. Baker would be good @ 3rd & needs to play, even play more 2nd base….Theriot is driving me nuts. Hell, I’d even play Fontenot @ 3rd right now….I’m sick of A-Ram right now. Even tho DLee is off to a slow start I still like him (for now)… I like Hoffpauer at 1st as well…too much talent to let sit on the bench or in AAA. I don’t care how much money these guys are making, if they aren’t producing, why are they playing?!

    • crunchy1 5 years ago

      Hoffpauir is hitting .190 in AAA with a .345 slugging percentage and a .635 OPS. Not very good — especially when you’re 30 years old an playing against minor leaguers. His days as a ballplayer in the Cubs organization are probably be numbered.

  15. jb226 5 years ago

    Not entirely on-topic, but is it just me or do the Cubs simply lack energy?

    They have a lot of players who can do well, performing to various levels of success right now — Soriano is quite hot, Ramirez quite cold, etc. But they’re all just… blase. The closest thing they have to a high-energy guy that I can think of is Marlon Byrd. Everybody else just sort of lumbers along, whether they’re doing well or doing poorly. There just doesn’t seem to be any emotion on this team.

    Honestly, I think that’s a huge problem for the Cubs. It has always struck me as odd that a team could be as team streaky as the Cubs; we’re either super hot, scoring 14 runs a game, or super cold, losing games we score 1-2 runs in. Apparently, performance is contagious for this team — so I really do think that a high-energy, exciting player would really pay dividends well beyond his own performance.

    • crunchy1 5 years ago

      I agree. What happened to Theriot? He used to be an energetic little guy. But I agree Byrd is the only guy who seems up for all of the games, though that could change with Starlin Castro on the team now — which, I think, is part of the reason he was brought up, to add a spark. But I think it’s going to take more than one or two players to change the culture of this team. If they don’t look like contenders by June/July they should tear this team down and start over.

  16. studio179 5 years ago

    “What happened to Theriot? He used to be an energetic little guy.”

    Who knows. Maybe losing his arb case took a little energy out of him. :/

    “If they don’t look like contenders by June/July they should tear this team down and start over.”

    It’s May, but the Cubs will win 4 in a row and lose 5 of 6 in streaks. When it’s all done at the end of the year, they look to be a few over .500, maybe a few more. They also look like they could be right at or a few below .500. They won’t start over in June or July though. They will stay in it as most the NL past the deadline. Then again, Mr. Ricketts might change the old ways of false hope and start new. We don’t know.

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