Mike Fontenot Rumors
The Giants locked up Matt Cain yesterday and the $112.5MM contract has generated its share of headlines and discussion since. Here are the latest links from Cain’s division, starting in San Francisco:
- Madison Bumgarner told John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle that he’d have interest in a multiyear deal “if it was worth it” (Twitter link). The left-hander said his agent hasn’t addressed a long-term extension with the Giants’ front office. Tim Dierkes discussed Bumgarner as an extension candidate in December, suggesting a five-year deal in the $23-4MM range would be a big win for the 22-year-old.
- Infielder Mike Fontenot has cleared release waivers and can officially sign anywhere, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. The Giants released Fontenot last week.
- Stan Kasten, one of the key members of the group that won the bidding for the Dodgers, may be looking for another baseball man, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (on Twitter). Kasten has talked with Tony La Russa, who is expected to join MLB this season.
- Now that Joey Votto and Prince Fielder have signed mega-deals, Matt Kemp's $160MM extension looks better than ever for the Dodgers, Bill Shaikin of the LA Times writes. Fewer elite players are reaching free agency, so Frank McCourt's decision to spend on Kemp seems like a good one.
The Giants have placed infielder Mike Fontenot on release waivers, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Twitter links). The Giants agreed to terms with the arbitration-eligible Fontenot on a one-year, $1.05MM deal this offseason, and they'll save three quarters of that sum by cutting ties with him today.
Fontenot posted a .227/.304/.377 line in 252 plate appearances at second base, shortstop and third base last year. The Fielding Bible Volume III suggests Fontenot provides adequate defense around the infield. He'll obtain approximately $250K in termination pay from the Giants. Teams like the Phillies and Rangers could have interest in signing the 31-year-old.
Theriot, 32, will earn $1.25MM this season while the 31-year-old Fontenot will make $1.05MM. Neither contract is guaranteed, and the Giants could release both players by March 29th and only have to pay one-fourth of their salary. The former LSU teammates both have experience all over the infield, though Fontenot hits for more power while Theriot is a batting average, stolen base guy.
Some contract details from a pair of rivals in the NL West...
- Jamey Wright and John Grabow can opt out of their minor league contracts with the Dodgers on Sunday, reports Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times (on Twitter). If the players opt-out, the team can keep them by adding them to the 40-man roster by March 30th.
- Hank Schulman of The San Francisco Chronicle reports (on Twitter) that decision day for Ryan Theriot's contract is March 30th, not the 29th as previously reported. If the Giants cut him by the 29th, they'll only have to pay him one-fourth of his $1.25MM salary.
- The same is true for both Mike Fontenot ($1.05MM) and Clay Hensley ($750K) according to Schulman (on Twitter). Their contracts become guaranteed if the Giants do not cut them before the 29th.
Tonight is the deadline for teams to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players. Many teams will agree to terms with players before the deadline and we'll keep track of them here:
- The Orioles have agreed to terms with Dana Eveland on a one-year, $750K deal for 2012, MLBTR has learned.
- The Giants have agreed to terms with Mike Fontenot on a one-year deal for 2012, avoiding arbitration, MLBTR has learned. It's a $1.05MM deal, according to the Associated Press.
- The Red Sox announced that they re-signed Matt Albers. He'll earn $1.075MM, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
- The Padres agreed to terms with Chris Denorfia on a one-year deal, according to Dan Hayes of the North County Times (Twitter link). The deal is worth $1.165MM, according to Ronald Blum of the AP
The Pirates agreed to terms with Jason Grilli on a one-year, $1.1MM deal for 2012, MLBTR has learned.
- The Rockies agreed to terms with Kevin Slowey on a one-year deal, the team announced (on Twitter). Slowey obtains $2.75MM from the Rockies, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (Twitter link). MLBTR had projected a $2.7MM salary.
- The Blue Jays agreed to sign Jeff Mathis to one-year deal that guarantees the backstop $1.5MM in 2012, MLBTR has learned. The Blue Jays have since confirmed the move.
- The Blue Jays have avoided arbitration with Jesse Litsch (one-year, $975K) and Dustin McGowan (one-year, $600K) according to a team press release.
- The Dodgers have signed outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. to a two-year deal.
- The A's announced that they agreed to terms with Landon Powell, Daric Barton and Adam Rosales on one-year deals for 2012. The A's aren't non-tendering any arbitration eligible players this offseason. Joe Stiglich of the Bay Area News Group hears Barton will earn $1.1MM in 2012 (Twitter link). Rosales will earn $600K and Powell will earn $620K, according to Ronald Blum of the AP.
- The Marlins signed Donnie Murphy to a contract for 2012, according to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post (Twitter link). He'll earn $560K, according to Ronald Blum of the AP.
- The Brewers announced that they signed George Kottaras to a one-year deal, avoiding arbitration. He'll earn $700K, according to Ronald Blum of the AP.
- The Astros avoided arbitration with Humberto Quintero, signing him to a one-year deal worth $1MM, according to the team. MLBTR had projected a $1.2MM salary for Quintero.
- The Angels agreed to terms with right-hander Jerome Williams on a one-year deal, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times (on Twitter). Williams agreed to sign for $820K with $120K in incentives, according to MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez (on Twitter).
- Skip Schumaker is nearing a two-year deal with the Cardinals.
The Giants won't re-sign Carlos Beltran or Cody Ross this winter, GM Brian Sabean told reporters, including John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link). Manager Bruce Bochy hinted as much, after yesterday's Angel Pagan acquisition, saying the Giants seemed "pretty set" in the outfield, writes Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News.
"Simply put," Sabean said. "With Ross, we could never get on the same page. And Beltran, we knew it was going to be a stretch."
Here are some other Sabean highlights from Shea and Baggarly:
- The Giants' payroll is maxed out. They'll have to decide whether to tender a contract to Jeff Keppinger or Mike Fontenot, since they can only afford to retain one. With the help of Matt Swartz, MLBTR projected Fontenot to earn about half as much as Keppinger, so Fontenot may have the edge.
- Guillermo Mota is choosing between two different payout structures, but both Giants offers are for one year with a big league guarantee.
- No other roster moves are expected besides non-tenders and minor league signings.
- If the Giants hadn't traded Ramon Ramirez, they would have tendered him a contract.
The 2011 Giants closely resembled last year’s World Championship team, but change lies ahead for San Francisco. Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle explains that health considerations and the rising cost of arbitration eligible players will shape next year’s Giants team. Here are some highlights from Schulman's piece:
- Pat Burrell could again sign a one-year deal when he hits free agency after the season (he earns $1MM this year), but he may have to retire because of a foot injury. Burrell says he’ll play as long as he’s healthy enough to take the field.
- Schulman says it’s hard to imagine the Giants offering Cody Ross a raise from $6.3MM or agreeing to a multiyear deal when the outfielder hits free agency.
- Mark DeRosa is hoping to sign closer to Atlanta, where he makes his home, and realizes he may be in line for a minor league deal.
- The Giants will probably decline Jeremy Affeldt’s $5MM option for 2012, but they’ll “almost certainly” pursue him in free agency, according to Schulman.
- Jonathan Sanchez and Andres Torres are non-tender candidates. When MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes identified Sanchez and Torres as non-tender candidates last month, he pointed out that Sanchez’s salary would rise over $6MM (he now earns $4.8MM) through arbitration.
- Eli Whiteside is another non-tender candidate, Schulman writes.
- Jeff Keppinger, who’s arbitration eligible, will likely return in 2012 and it’s hard to imagine the Giants cutting Nate Schierholtz after seeing him progress in 2011.
- The Giants may not have room on the roster for both Mike Fontenot and Emmanuel Burriss.
August transactions don't boast the same excitement as their July counterparts, but they can still have ramifications for contenders and non-contenders alike. Teams readying for the postseason will often fine-tune their rosters by adding a specialty piece -- a LOOGY or power bat off the bench, for example -- and ones looking ahead to next year will look to shed payroll.
There's still a few days left before September arrives, and prominent players such as the Rays' B.J. Upton was claimed as recently as Friday. But in the meanwhile, here's a look back at some of the bigger names who were on the move -- whether by trade or waiver claim -- in August 2010, and the subsequent fallout (for the complete list, check out MLBTR's Transaction Tracker):
- Mike Sweeney, acquired by the Phillies from the Mariners on Aug. 4: Seattle sent the right-handed-hitting veteran and what remained of his $650K salary to Philly, where he hit .231/.310/.385 down the regular season's stretch and went 1-for-1 in his lone postseason at-bat. The M's later received cash from the Phils for Sweeney, who signed a one-day contract with the Royals in March and retired.
- Jim Edmonds, acquired by the Reds from the Brewers on Aug. 9: Cincinnati added Edmonds for its postseason push, sending Chris Dickerson back to Milwaukee in exchange. Edmonds didn't do much, hitting .207/.281/.586 in the regular season before being left off the Reds' postseason roster due to an Achilles injury. He retired this spring after signing a minor league deal with the Cards, while Dickerson was traded in March to the Yankees for Sergio Mitre.
- Mike Fontenot, acquired by the Giants from the Cubs on Aug. 11: The Lads scooped up Fontenot for infield depth during their run to the World Series in exchange for minor league outfielder Evan Crawford. Fontenot remains in San Francisco is under team control for through 2013, though he could be a non-tender candidate this offseason, as he was last.
- Derrek Lee, acquired by the Braves from the Cubs on Aug. 18: Lee joined Atlanta after his long tenure in Chicago, the Cubs acquiring three prospects in return. Lee was one of the better acquisitions of this period, posting a fine .287/.384/.465 line for the Braves to help them reach the postseason, though he went just 2-for-16 in their NLDS loss to the Giants. He signed with the Orioles before this season.
- Pedro Feliz, acquired by the Cardinals from the Astros on Aug. 19: St. Louis sent David Carpenter and cash to Houston in exchange for Feliz, who was added to help out at the hot corner when David Freese was injured. Feliz's already declining bat didn't improve for the Redbirds, who missed the postseason. Feliz signed a minor league deal with the Padres this month, while Carpenter is currently in the Astros' bullpen.
- Cody Ross, acquired by the Giants from the Marlins on waiver claim on Aug. 22: The Giants added an eventual World Series hero in acquiring Ross from the Marlins, who had little interest in retaining Ross, as he was becoming expensive with his final year of arbitration-eligibility looming.
- Brian Fuentes, acquired by the Twins from the Angels on Aug. 27: Minnesota added Fuentes to bolster its bullpen, and the lefty threw 9 2/3 shutout innings in the regular season and 2 2/3 shutout innings in the postseason before signing with the Athletics this offseason. The Angels acquired Loek Van Mil from the Twins as a player to be named.
- Manny Ramirez, acquired by the White Sox on a waiver claim from the Dodgers on Aug. 29: This was arguably the most notable move of the August post-deadline period, but it didn't amount to much for either teams or the player. The White Sox missed the postseason, the cash-strapped Dodgers got some salary relief, and Manny hit a quiet .261/.420/.319 before signing with the Rays this offseason (and eventually retiring).
- Manny Delcarmen, acquired by the Rockies from the Red Sox on Aug. 31: The Rox, still in contention for the wild card, needed bullpen depth, so they sent Chris Balcom-Miller to Boston for Delcarmen. The righty didn't pan out in Colorado, posting a 6.48 ERA in 8 1/3 innings for a team that missed the playoffs before being non-tendered this offseason. He's kicked around since then.
- Jeff Francoeur, acquired by the Rangers from the Mets on Aug. 31: Texas sent Joaquin Arias to the Mets for Frenchy, who played well in his brief time in Texas, hitting .340/.357/.491 down the stretch and seeing playing time during the postseason. Arias was waived by the Mets, while Francoeur signed the Royals this offseason and recently inked a two-year extension.
- The Giants contacted Derek Jeter's agent, according to the Wall Street Journal, but Brian Sabean explained to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle that team's discussions with Casey Close revolved around another client, Mike Fontenot. (Twitter link). Fontenot, a non-tender candidate, would earn over $1MM next winter if the Giants tender him a contract.
- Before the Dodgers signed former Giant Juan Uribe, San Francisco offered the infielder a three-year deal worth $20MM, according to Schulman (on Twitter). That's $1MM less than the Dodgers offered and $5MM less than Uribe was asking for.
- The Giants weren't the only NL West team to lose an infielder to a division rival this week. The Padres spoke to Miguel Tejada's agent today, but weren't willing and/or able to match the Giants' $6.5MM offer, according to Dan Hayes of the North County Times (on Twitter).
In mid-August the Giants struck a deal with the Cubs to acquire infielder Mike Fontenot in exchange for minor league center fielder Evan Crawford. The Cubs chose to part ways with the 30-year-old who was unable to give an encore performance of his strong 2008 campaign. In that season he delivered a slash line of .305/.395/.514 with nine homers. His flat 2010 numbers with the Cubbies (91 OPS+) and the rise of Starlin Castro made Fontenot expendable.
Fontenot didn't set the world on fire at the end of the Giants' regular season either, hitting .282/.329/.310 in 76 plate appearances. While he has the ability to play shortstop and third base, his best position is second base. Second base is, of course, already occupied by Freddy Sanchez, who is under contract through 2011. While he could conceivably be a cheap alternative if the Giants choose not to retain Juan Uribe, his light-hitting and weak play at shortstop make that unlikely.
As for Fontenot, he earned $1MM and will head to arbitration this winter for the second time. While he's not a bad utility option to keep around, the Giants could very well choose to non-tender him. After all, they didn't exactly give up a ton to acquire him this year. What do you think San Francisco will do with Fontenot? Click here to vote, and here to view the results.