Santiago Casilla Rumors

Details On Santiago Casilla’s Vesting Option

When the Giants and right-hander Santiago Casilla agreed to a three-year, $15MM extension with a vesting/club option in the 2012-13 offseason, reports indicated that Casilla’s option would vest based on a certain number of innings pitched or appearances. However, details surrounding the specific parameters of the option remained unclear. MLBTR has learned the specifics of Casilla’s vesting option.

The 2016 option was structured such that it could vest at three different levels: $6.5MM, $7.5MM or $8.5MM. Of those three, the $6.5MM figure is the only reasonably possible scenario at this point, and it, in fact, seems fairly likely. Casilla’s option will vest at $6.5MM if he finishes 55 games in the 2015 season. It would have vested at $7.5MM had he finished 100 games from 2014-15, with 55 or more of those games finished coming this year. The $8.5MM figure would have vested had Casilla finished 150 games over his contract’s three-year term, with 55 or more coming in the 2015 season.

As things currently stand, Casilla has pitched well as the Giants’ primary closer in 2015. He’s finished 32 games on the year (accumulating 23 saves), meaning that he’ll need just 23 more games finished to lock in the fourth year of his contract and boost the total value of the deal from $15MM to $20.5MM. (He was already guaranteed $1MM of that figure via buyout, so the vesting option will increase his guarantee by $5.5MM instead of $6.5MM.)

The 34-year-old Casilla has worked to a 3.34 ERA in 32 1/3 innings, averaging 9.2 K/9 against 3.6 BB/9 with a 45.1 percent ground-ball rate. Casilla will turn 35 in 12 days, and his 93 mph average fastball is the slowest of his career, so there are reasons to worry about some level of decline. But, he’s consistently delivered very strong bottom-line results throughout his San Francisco tenure, and the $6.5MM salary he figures to eventually secure for the 2016 season is hardly prohibitive to a team with the Giants’ payroll capabilities.

Last night’s midseason update on vesting options from around the league, authored by MLBTR’s Mark Polishuk, has been updated to reflect the details of Casilla’s contract.

2016 Vesting Options Midseason Update

Several notable players could see their 2016 statuses change depending on whether or not they unlock vesting options in their current contracts.  As we enter the All-Star break, let’s check in on the progress each of these players are making towards those getting those options to vest.  All stats are current heading into today’s action…

  • Chase Utley: The veteran second baseman has a $15MM vesting option for 2016 that becomes guaranteed if he makes 500 plate appearances.  (If he doesn’t, it becomes a team option worth between $5MM-$11MM depending on how much time Utley spends on the DL, with a $2MM buyout.)  Utley, of course, is on the DL right now recovering from an ankle injury and will be out until late July or early August.  Phillies GM Ruben Amaro has openly stated that Cesar Hernandez has earned the everyday second base job, leaving Utley’s playing time in question for the remainder of the season.  Utley is suffering through by far the worst season of his 13-year career with only a .179/.257/.275 slash line and four homers through his 249 plate appearances.  If Utley isn’t back until early August, he’d be hard-pressed to reach 500 PA even in the increasingly unlikely event that he plays every day.
  • Jonathan Papelbon: This Phillie‘s march towards his vesting option is going much more smoothly.  His $13MM option for 2016 vests if he either finishes 55 games this year, or finishes 100 games combined between the 2014 and 2015 seasons.  Papelbon finished 52 games last year and has 29 finishes this season, so collecting those last 19 finishes over roughly two and a half months shouldn’t be difficult for the closer if he stays healthy.  There’s a chance Papelbon could ask for his option to be guaranteed to facilitate a trade, yet he sounds so eager to get out of Philadelphia and pitch for a contender that he may not bother and instead bet on himself to finish those 19 games.
  • David Ortiz: Big Papi has 340 plate appearances, making him a virtual lock to reach the 425 PA he’ll need (plus passing an offseason physical) for his 2016 option to vest.  Ortiz will earn at least $11MM in 2016, plus more depending on how many PA past the 425-mark he ends up recording this season.
  • Joaquin Benoit: With only seven games finished, Benoit has no shot at the 55 games finished he’s need to turn the Padres‘ $8MM club option into a guarantee for 2016.
  • Marlon Byrd: If Byrd has 600 PA this season, or at least 550 PA this season and 1100 PA total between 2014-15, the $8MM club option on his 2016 services will become guaranteed.  A DL stint limited Byrd to 262 PA thus far, so it’ll be difficult for Byrd to reach the 550 PA mark unless he stays healthy and the Reds play him virtually every day.
  • Santiago Casilla: The Giants righty signed a three-year, $15MM deal in the 2012-13 offseason that contained a vesting option. MLBTR has learned that Casilla’s 2016 option will vest at $6.5MM with 55 games finished during the 2015 season. Casilla’s option could have vested at $7.5MM with 100 games finished between the 2014-15 seasons, including 55 in 2015. The option could also have vested at $8.5MM with 150 games finished from 2013-15, including 55 finished in 2015.
  • Nori Aoki: The outfielder was one of the league leaders in plate appearances when he fractured his right fibula, so he already has 291 of the 550 PA he needs to turn the Giants‘ $5.5MM option for 2016 into a mutual option.  If Aoki returns around July 24 (as Bruce Bochy estimates) and resumes his everyday spot atop San Francisco’s lineup, he stands a good chance of reaching the vesting point.
  • Jonny Gomes: If Gomes receives 325 PA, his $3MM option for 2016 will become guaranteed.  He’s just over halfway there with 166 plate appearances, so this one may come right down to the wire.

We already know that Cliff Lee won’t achieve the innings totals required for his 2016 option to vest, as the Phillies southpaw hasn’t pitched all season and is attempting to recover from a torn left flexor tendon without undergoing surgery.  Brandon League also hasn’t pitched this season and has been released by the Dodgers, so he won’t reach the games-finished total required to allow his 2016 player option to vest.

2016 Vesting Options Update

Several notable players could see their 2016 statuses change depending on whether or not they unlock vesting options in their current contracts.  With the opening month of the 2015 season almost in the books, let’s check in on the progress each of these players are making towards those getting those options to vest…

  • Chase Utley: The veteran second baseman has a $15MM vesting option for 2016 that becomes guaranteed if he makes 500 plate appearances.  (If he doesn’t, it becomes a team option worth between $5MM-$11MM depending on how much time Utley spends on the DL, with a $2MM buyout.)  Utley has received 81 PA while playing in 21 of the Phillies’ first 22 games, so he is well on the way to having his option vest despite a very rough start — only a .398 OPS and two homers this season, thanks to an incredibly low .102 BABIP.  There is little chance the Phils would let Utley walk for nothing this winter, especially when they could obtain something for him in a trade this summer if Utley agrees to waive his no-trade clause.
  • Jonathan Papelbon: The Phillies closer’s 2016 vesting option is one of the reasons why he hasn’t yet been traded, as other teams have been wary about acquiring a reliever with such a potentially large price tag.  Papelbon’s $13MM vests if he finishes 55 games this season, or posts a combined 100 games finished between 2014-15.  The stopper finished 52 games last year and has seven finishes thus far in 2015, putting him on pace for that guaranteed salary next year.
  • David Ortiz: If Ortiz makes at least 425 PA and passes a physical after the season, Boston’s $10MM team option on his services for 2016 will become guaranteed at $11MM (or more, depending on how many plate appearances Ortiz makes).  Ortiz has only had less than 425 PA in two of the last 14 seasons, so barring any injury setbacks for Big Papi, this one seems like a safe bet to vest.
  • Joaquin Benoit: The Padres hold an $8MM team option on Benoit for 2016, but the righty can turn that into a guaranteed option if he finishes at least 55 games this season.  Benoit’s chances are pretty remote, as he was relegated to setup man duties after San Diego acquired Craig Kimbrel.
  • Marlon Byrd: His original two-year, $16MM deal with the Phillies included an $8MM club option for 2016 that becomes guaranteed if he reaches 600 PA this season, or a total of 1100 PA over 2014-15 with at least 550 PA this season.  Byrd received 637 PA last season and he has 74 PA over 20 games with the Reds in 2015.  He should continue to get regular playing time for Cincinnati though Byrd is off to a slow start — a .441 OPS with no walks and 24 strikeouts.
  • Santiago Casilla: The Giants righty signed a three-year, $15MM deal in the 2012-13 offseason that contained a vesting option, though little is known about the option’s value or specifics.
  • Nori Aoki: The Giants’ $5.5MM club option on Aoki for 2016 will become a mutual option if Aoki reaches 550 PA.  The outfielder is hitting well and his 102 PA currently leads the league, so he’s well ahead of the pace to vest his option.
  • Jonny Gomes: The Braves outfielder can guaranteed another year on his contract (at a $3MM salary) if he makes 325 PA, and he can unlock higher salaries at the 425 PA and 500 PA plateaus.  Gomes has thus far received 47 PA over 15 games, putting him in decent shape for at least the first level of his vesting option.

We already know that Cliff Lee won’t achieve the innings totals required for his 2016 option to vest.  The Phillies southpaw is attempting to recover from a torn left flexor tendon without undergoing surgery and is currently on the 60-day DL.  Dodgers reliever Brandon League is also recovering from a right shoulder injury and thus stands virtually no chance of reaching the games-finished totals required to allow his 2016 player option to vest.

Quick Hits: Santiago, Padres, White Sox

Here are some notes on a few possible trade situations shaping up around baseball:

  • The Tigers are shopping middle infielder Ramon Santiago, reports ESPN's Buster Olney (on Twitter). The 33-year-old Santiago has spent 9 of his 11 big league seasons in Detroit, but his performance fell off last year when he hit just .206/.283/.272 in 259 plate appearances for the Tigers.
  • In light of today's news that Padres third baseman Logan Forsythe suffered a setback in his attempt to recover from a foot injury, the club once again finds itself wondering who will man the hot corner for the start of the season after already losing Chase Headley. As reported by Bill Center of The San Diego Union-Tribune, manager Bud Black acknowledged that a DL stint was likely for Forsythe. GM Josh Byrnes says that it is unlikely that the team will look outside the organization for a replacement, tweets Corey Brock of Center suggests that, instead, rookie Jedd Gyorko will move over to third, with Alexi Amarista filling in at second. 
  • Meanwhile, the White Sox also have some injury concerns that they do not expect to address via trade, writes Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. However, GM Rick Hahn says that the team is "looking around outside for other upgrades." Chicago manager Robin Ventura also announced that righty Dylan Axelrod will be the team's fifth starter to begin the year, writes Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times, in conjunction with the news that John Danks will begin the year on the DL.

Giants Agree To Sign Santiago Casilla

The Giants and right-hander Santiago Casilla have agreed to a three-year, $15MM contract with a vesting option for a fourth season.  The deal will pay Casilla $4.5MM in 2013 and 2014 and $5MM in 2015, plus a $1MM buyout for 2016 if his option doesn't vest.  Casilla is represtented by ACES.  Santiago_Casilla

The 32-year-old right-hander pitched to a 2.84 ERA with a 7.8 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and 55 percent ground-ball rate in 63 1/3 innings for the World Champion Giants in 2012. In three seasons with the team, Casilla has a 2.22 ERA over the course of 170 1/3 innings.

Casilla took over as the team's closer when Brian Wilson went down with Tommy John surgery early in the season and led the Giants with 25 saves on the year. As a result, MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projected that Casilla would earn $5.4MM in his third year of arbitration eligibility. The contract buys out that final year of arbitration and gives the Giants control over two of Casilla's free agent seasons, with an option for a third.

As MLBTR's Transaction Tracker shows, Giants general manager Brian Sabean has done his best to keep his World Series winning roster together this offseason. He's brought back Jeremy Affeldt and Marco Scutaro on three-year deals and re-signed Angel Pagan to a four-year deal. Sabean also signed Andres Torres to a one-year deal, who was a part of San Francisco's 2010 World Series team.

Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle was the first to break the news of the signing, plus the contract length and payment breakdown (all links to Twitter).  Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area Twitter also added details about the move (both Twitter links).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants Rumors: Posey, Pence, Casilla, Wilson

Here's the latest on the World Champion San Francisco Giants…

  • "We are open to the idea," said GM Brian Sabean when asked about a long-term contract extension for Buster Posey, though he said they were "not necessarily" open to the idea with Hunter Pence. John Shea of The San Francisco Chronicle and Andrew Baggarly of passed along the quotes (Twitter links).
  • The Giants have had conceptual talks about a multiyear deal with reliever Santiago Casilla, reports Baggarly (on Twitter). The team is not active in any trade discussions, Sabean confirmed.
  • Brian Wilson is unlikely to re-sign with the Giants if and when he gets non-tendered, hears Hank Schulman of The San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter).

Giants Likely To Non-Tender Brian Wilson

Brian Wilson has saved 171 games for the Giants dating back to 2006, but now, following his Tommy John surgery earlier this year, it appears likely that he'll be non-tendered, according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.

As Schulman notes, teams must pay arbitration-eligible players at least 80 percent of their previous salary, which would mean the minimum offer the Giants can make Wilson is $6.8MM. That's a hefty price tag for a closer coming off Tommy John, even if he was elite at his peak. The Giants would like to non-tender Wilson and re-sign him to a one-year deal with a lower base salary, but Wilson isn't as open to that scenario.

In addition to his 171 saves, Wilson has earned three All-Star bids and anchored the bullpen for the Giants' 2010 World Series victory, Over the course of 320 career innings, he's pitched to a 3.21 ERA with 9.6 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9. Wilson appeared in only two games this season, gutting out a save in his final appearance despite the damaged ligament in his arm.

Sergio Romo and Santiago Casilla filled in admirably in Wilson's absence this season. Schulman notes, however, that Casilla himself could end up being non-tendered for salary reasons. Matt Swartz projects a $5.4MM salary for Casilla through arbitration following a solid season.

Players Avoiding Arbitration: Tuesday

Dozens of arbitration eligible players have agreed to deals with their respective teams today and we've been tracking all of the developments right here.  Several teams, including the Rays, Nationals, Marlins, White Sox, Blue Jays, Braves, and perhaps Astros, are known for committing to going to hearings if they get to the point of filing.  Keep track of all the madness with MLBTR's arbitration tracker, which shows settlement amounts, filing figures, and midpoints.  Today's players to avoid arbitration on deals worth less than $4MM:


Players To Avoid Arbitration: Tuesday

Today is the deadline for players and teams to submit arbitration figures. The sides will then settle on a salary between the team's proposed number and the player's proposed number or go to an arbitration hearing. Arbitration eligible players are under team control, so the clubs don't risk losing them – it's a question of how much the players will earn.

Yesterday, 11 players avoided arbitration. We could see just as many agreements trickle in today and we'll keep you posted on them right here and with our Arb Tracker. The latest updates will be at the top of the post:


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Giants Sign Santiago Casilla

The Giants signed reliever Santiago Casilla to a minor league deal, reports Baseball America's Matt EddyHe'd been released by the A's on December 10th to make room for Rule 5 pick Bobby Cassevah.

Casilla, 29, posted a 5.96 ERA, 6.5 K/9, and 4.7 BB/9 in 48.3 relief innings last year.  He was hindered by calf and knee injuries.  He dealt with a sore elbow throughout the '08 season.