Giants Re-sign Guillermo Mota

The Giants are bringing back Guillermo Mota. Which is cool, because it gives me a chance to step away for a second from the constant rosterbation.

Guillermo Mota is 38 years old. During his career, he’s played for seven different teams. In 2009, he was a Dodger. From 2002 to 2004, he spent time in a Dodgers uniform. There was a time when Mota was a truly dominant reliever; it didn’t last long, and it was nearly ten years ago, but it happened nonetheless. And it happened when he was a Dodger: in 2003, he posted a 205 ERA+ in 105.0 innings of relief. If you go by Baseball-Reference, Mota has been worth 4.4 wins above replacement in his 13 major-league seasons. All of it — and then some — came from his tenure as a Dodger from ’03 to ’04. Mota has bounced around from team to team in these last thirteen years, but before he signed with the Giants in 2010, he was as much a Dodger as anything else, carrying with him that intangible Dodgers aura.

After signing with the Giants in 2010, Mota appeared in 56 games. He wasn’t spectacular; he wasn’t even average: 4.33 ERA/3.86 FIP/4.57 xFIP, 91 ERA+. On October 28, 2010, at age 36, Mota made his first World Series appearance, tossing one scoreless inning. A few days later, he won his first ring.

This year, the Giants’ bullpen allowed 26 home runs. Mota accounted for ten of them. Home runs aside, Mota was solid: he struck out nearly a batter an inning (8.63/9), setting a career high in K/9. His xFIP, 3.63, was the lowest he’d posted since that dominant 2003 season, and it was one of the better marks on the team (lower than Brian Wilson, Javier Lopez, and Santiago Casilla). Twice this season — the Barry Zito foot injury, and the Madison Bumgarner disaster start — Mota went 4+ innings. He had never done that once before 2011. On August 3rd, Mota struck out six over two innings of relief, tying a career-high. It was the most strikeouts he’d tallied in a single game since — you guessed it — 2003.

Years from now, when you’re looking back at the first Giants team to win a championship in a decade, Guillermo Mota won’t be the first name to come to mind. Nor will he be the second. Or the third. There’s a chance that you won’t even remember him. But if you do, you’ll probably remember him with some modicum of fondness. Which is more than can be said for Jose Guillen. And if you go out and buy a Mota jersey, I won’t judge you.

ZiPS projects Mota for a 96 ERA+ over 60 innings, with a K/BB hovering around 2.00. He’ll be unspectacular. But he’ll be a cheap, usable arm out of the ‘pen.

Mike Fontenot agrees to one-year deal with the Giants

According to Ben Nicholson-Smith of MLB Trade Rumors, Mike Fontenot and the Giants have agreed to a one-year deal for 2012. This almost certainly guarantees that Jeff Keppinger will be non-tendered, as Brian Sabean had said that it would be one or the other. The Giants definitely made the right decision here: Fontenot is a solid defender at second, and he can play a passable third base/shortstop. His bat, though not particularly special, is pretty useful as well: he’s hit .263/.332/.406 (91 wRC+) over his career, and is coming off a decent season at the plate (.227/.304/.377, 87 wRC+). It might not seem like much, but he was worth one win above replacement in 85 games this year. Not bad for a bench guy. Additionally, as a left-handed hitter, he seems to complement Freddy Sanchez pretty well. Keppinger just wasn’t a good fit.

UPDATE: Confirmation — Fontenot has agreed to a one-year deal; Jeff Keppinger and Eli Whiteside have been non-tendered. The deal is for $1.05MM — very reasonable, and slightly less than I had anticipated.

Giants re-sign Jose Flores, Craig Whitaker

The minor-league free agent deals continue, as the Giants have re-signed Jose Flores and Craig Whitaker (via the incredible resource that is Baseball America’s Minor League Free Agent Database).

Jose Flores, a 24-year-old switch-hitting third baseman, spent the year in both San Jose and Richmond, where he posted an underwhelming .217/.295/.301 line in 415 plate appearances.

Craig Whitaker, 27, was the Giants’ first-round pick back in 2003. He’s pitched in 193 career games in the minors to date, mostly out of relief. He’s averaged just over a strikeout per inning in his career, but the walk rate (6.2 BB/9) isn’t pretty. It doesn’t appear that he pitched at all in 2011.

Giants decline to offer arbitration to Cody Ross, Pat Burrell

Via John Shea:

No surprise, but #SFGiants are not offering arbitration to Pat Burrell and Cody Ross. Contractually, they can’t offer it to Carlos Beltran.

Burrell and Ross were both Type B free agents, and would have brought back compensatory draft picks had they declined arbitration then signed elsewhere. So…no comp picks. Burrell’s expected to retire, but Ross could still re-sign. Even with the Melky Cabrera acquisition, I could see the Giants bringing back Ross on a cheap-ish one-year deal. He does have interest in returning, but I’m sure he could find more playing time by signing with another team.

The New MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement

MLB players and owners reached an agreement on a new labor deal today, one which will bring some rather significant changes to the sport. I don’t have much to add to the 100+ people who have already commented and written extensively about it, but I do recommend you read the PDF, Wendy Thurm’s breakdown of the CBA, and — if you happen to subscribe to ESPN Insider — Keith Law’s point-by-point summary is absolutely essential.

Giants’ 40-Man Roster Moves, Darren Ford and Waldis Joaquin Designated for Assignment

Well, the Giants have finally made their forty-man roster moves:

More to come…

Giants Sign Gregor Blanco

According to Matt Eddy of Baseball America, the Giants have signed minor-league free agent Gregor Blanco:

Octagon Baseball reports that its client CF Gregor Blanco signed with Giants. LH-hitting, 27-year-old CF coming off lost year in Triple-A.

Blanco hit .201 in 255 plate appearances…with a .350 OBP. He doesn’t have much power, but he’s consistently had strong on-base numbers. Over his minor-league career, he’s posted a 13% walk rate.

So far, he’s the second MiLB FA to sign with the Giants this season, joining the likes of Wilmin Rodriguez.

Giants Re-sign Wilmin Rodriguez

The Giants have re-signed LHP Wilmin Rodriguez to a minor-league deal, with an invite to spring training. Rodriguez, 26, spent most of his time in Double-A Richmond this year, where he posted a 3.61 ERA/4.42 FIP in 57.1 innings, mostly pitching out of relief. Over his entire career in the minors, he’s averaged 7.1 strikeouts and 4.4 walks per nine innings.

So far, he’s the only minor-league free agent to sign with the Giants. Among the Giants minor-leaguers that became free agents this November: Travis Ishikawa, Sharlon Schoop, Osiris Matos, Alex Hinshaw, and Max Ramirez.