Santiago Casilla has always been considered a volatile closer due to his strikeout and walk totals fluctuating on a year-to-year basis. Despite his inconsistent ratios and erratic pitching style, the end results had always been fantasy-friendly with a collective ERA under 3.00 and 84 total saves over the past four seasons. Last year was finally the season it all caught up to Casilla as he was removed from the closer role in the second half of the season. A poor six-game stretch in early-September compounded the Giants' second-half struggles and forced manager Bruce Bochy to make a change. Even with the late-season implosion, his final numbers were still respectable (3.57 ERA, 10.09 K/9 and 31 saves). Casilla latched on with the Athletics over the offseason, although he seems to be in the mix for a setup role as opposed to a closer role to start. Things can change, but it seems like his value at the onset of the campaign will primarily lie in his ability to amass holds.
Casilla will be late to camp due to a visa issue, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. This isn't much of a surprise, as Casilla was a late signing for the A's. He'll likely be at camp by the end of the week. The 36-year-old posted a 3.57 ERA with a 10.1 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 ratios across 58.0 innings last year with the Giants.
Casilla will play for Team Dominican in this year's WBC, Jane Lee of MLB.com reports. The veteran reliever, who signed a two-year contract with the A's on Jan. 11 after spending the last seven seasons with the Giants, will be a part of Team Dominican's defense of their WBC title. Casilla will join a star-studded pitching staff that includes the Giants' Johnny Cueto and the Cardinals' Carlos Martinez, among a host of other major league names.
Casilla agreed to a two-year contract with the A's on Wednesday, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. After seven (mostly) successful seasons with the Giants, Casilla has decided to return to the organization with whom he signed as an amateur free agent in 2000. Casilla was charged with nine blown saves last season and lost his grip on the closer role down the stretch, but his 10.1 K/9 was a personal best and his 3.0 BB/9 was the second-lowest mark of his career. Santiago figures to step into the setup mix with Oakland, perhaps serving as the top right-handed setup option to begin the campaign.
Casilla -- who was removed as the team's closer prior to the game -- blew another save against the Diamondbacks on Friday. Despite being removed as the team's closer, Casilla saw the first save opportunity that was presented Friday. Right on cue, he gave up a solo-homer to Jake Lamb in the bottom of the tenth inning that allowed the game to continue. Casilla was extremely erratic, missing well outside of the strike zone several times and even hit a batter. His recent struggles and role reduction appear to be affecting his confidence. Even though he saw the first save opportunity, we have to continue to view this as a closer by committee situation. Even if Casilla were to see the occasional save opportunity, it would be hard to roster him in all but the deepest formats after he posted an 8.00 ERA over his last 10 appearances.
Casilla has been removed from the closer role, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Another shaky outing Wednesday spelled the end for Casilla, as the struggling Giants have decided to make a change in the ninth inning. Manager Bruce Bochy declined to name a replacement for Casilla, suggesting instead that the team will take a closer-by-committee approach. Hunter Strickland, Sergio Romo, Joe Nathan and lefty Will Smith could all factor into the mix for saves depending on the matchups.