Arbitration Eligible: Mike Fontenot

After hitting .227/.304/.377 in 252 plate appearances (85 games) this season, Mike Fontenot enters his third year of arbitration eligibility. Though the numbers — particularly the low batting average — don’t exactly jump off the page, he was quietly a solid producer at the plate. His walk rate (9.9%) was a notch above league average, and though he’s not much of a power hitter, he hit the ball with astonishing authority (44% of his hits going for extra bases). Despite missing 40+ games due to a groin strain and otherwise receiving limited playing time, Fontenot was good for roughly one win above replacement (by both rWAR and fWAR).

Oddly enough, Fontenot — primarily a second baseman — spent the majority of his time at shortstop this season. He’s nothing special defensively — whether at second, short, or third, but he did demonstrate that he’s serviceable at both middle-infield positions (and even third base in a grind). Going by FRAA, he’s mostly been an average defender over his career, and it’s reasonable to expect him to more-or-less provide that quality of fielding in the near future (though he’s clearly not an ideal defensive shortstop).

Fontenot signed a one-year $1MM deal in his first year of arbitration-eligibility, and signed for a nearly identical amount last season (one year, $1.05MM). This offseason, he projects to earn a slight increase, though he’ll still — in all likelihood — go for under $2MM. Beyond Brandon Crawford (not yet arb-eligible) and Freddy Sanchez (under contract for 2012), the Giants have little infield depth. As a left-handed hitter, Fontenot complements Sanchez (career .707 OPS v. RHPs) well, and his versatility makes him a useful bench guy.

Though the Giants are probably thinking about non-tendering him, it’s in their best interest to retain him — especially considering the cheap price tag. He’s hit .263/.332/.406 (92 wRC+) over his career, and that kind of production (particularly from a left-handed middle infielder like Fontenot) is inherently valuable.

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2 thoughts on “Arbitration Eligible: Mike Fontenot

  1. Absoltuely they should tender Mike Fontenot as a Starter, and He DID have very good numbers in field with Chicago and considering the constant unfair changes of shoving people in where he should have retained starting playing time over anyone Mike Fontenot hits Home Runs not just extra base hits and transitioned well in 2010 and hit a triple to break the conundrum against Atlanta in divisional series against Tim Hudson that may have also given Giants momentum to win the rest Mike Fontenot has also been a solid contributor in PLAYING the game a baseball in situational defense and situational hitting and with the veteran cast that surrounded Him on the Cubs you’re not going to find one player even presently with The Giants besides maybe Pat Burrell or Beltran that has had marquis players surrounding their carrer like Fontenot did in His Tenor with Cubs he deserves a starting role and deserves pay as a STARTER The Giants should give it TO HIM MIKE FONTENOT i believe he is right for a breakthrough season let Him play 162 games Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy and Giants decision makers from the least to the greatest you’ll be glad You did this is coming from a Minister Of The Gospel Of Jesus Christ.

    Brother Tony Salvo
    312-217-3259

  2. also Mike Fontenot numbers on Defense ARE VERY GOOD and with CUBS TOO SOLID and also look at how many games were affected by breakout hitting Mike Fontenot displayed it has an affect on the whole team when Mike starts doing well and does well often when You leave Him in the game and keep Him starting look at the numbers when Mike Fontenot starts at 2nd base and in upper position in lineups like 2nd 3rd or 4th spots in lineup He Is A Starter get it done He will perform and give Him what He deserves well over 3 million at 5 million a year Come on start Mike Fontenot at 2nd base let’s do it that left handed bat hit left handed pitchers this year too look at the numbers look at 2 out situations career wise look at situational hitting and Mike isn’t striking out anymore either that Manager from the Mets was so afraid of Mike Fontenot’s bat last year that he walked Him intentionally Mike is an awesome Marquis Player and great team player and given opportunity He should be given as a healthy Starter He Will fill that role very well and hit well over 300 and field His Position very well especially 2nd base that’s His natural position and deserves to start there with any team in The Major Leagues including The Sf Giants and play all 162 games as others starters get playing time and be paid 5 million a year plus Mike Fontenot is A Major League Marquis Starting Player And Veteran please treat Him like He IS and should be.

    Brother Tony Salvo
    Minister Of The Gospel Of Jesus Christ and Major League Baseball Fan
    312-217-3259

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