Santiago Casilla pitched brilliantly for the San Francisco Giants for seven years and was a key part of a dominant bullpen that helped nail down three World Series titles. Check out the bWAR totals (2010-2016): 1.7, 1.4, 0.5, 1.1, 2.0, 1.1, 0.8. Not bad for a guy who pitched less than 65 innings per season. And his post-season work was also excellent: 19-2/3 IP, 15 H, 20 K, 5 BB, only three runs allowed in 25 appearances. We are left with the bitter taste of last season's failures, but closing out wins was a team-wide problem, much of it due to the end of the Core Four. Jeremy Affeldt retired and neither Sergio Romo nor Javier Lopez could conjure up the old magic in 2016.
Casilla returns to his original team, the Oakland A's, on a two-year deal. He's still an effective pitcher and I expect he'll contribute positive value to that club. But the Giants had to move on. All the bullpen roles are up for grabs (other than closer!) and we will finally get to see if the young arms can deliver. Even if Lopez and/or Romo return there's a good chance neither will play as big of a role as they once did. It's a “whole new ballgame” for the Giants relief corps. Thanks for everything, Santiago. Wear those rings proudly, you earned them.
In other news, the Giants avoid arbitration with Conor Gillaspie and sign him to a one-year deal for $1.4M. I think he'll be a useful role player in 2017. It's nice to have a veteran left-handed bat who can play the hot corner. And none of us will forget his post-season heroics!
Pitchers and catchers report in 32 days.