Sometimes baseball moves are made that make me shrug my shoulders and go “meh.” This, unfortunately, is probably one of those moves. It was reported today that the Giants have released Mike Fontenot, tiny man and member of the 2010 World Series squad. The Giants will save themselves approximately $750K by giving Fontenot his walking papers — Fontenot originally avoided arbitration earlier in the offseason by agreeing to a one year, $1.05M deal.
It is a little surprising that the Giants are (presumably) choosing Ryan Theriot over Fontenot. Despite their similar abilities, I don’t think I’ve read one good thing about Theriot this spring from any of the beat guys. They’ve all been pretty consistent in saying that Theriot has looked bad in the field, and at the plate. Fontenot surely isn’t a capable full-time defender at shortstop, but he’s almost certainly better than Theriot at this stage.
Another thing to consider is that the team could honestly be giving thought to using Brett Pill as a the backup third baseman, a role that Fontenot would have assumed had he made the team. Brett Pill playing third base, in any capacity, is interesting because Brett Pill isn’t a third baseman.
The biggest issue with the team jettisoning Fontenot and choosing Theriot isn’t that one player is exceedingly better than the other, but rather the team is willfully choosing Manny Burriss to be its everyday second baseman. Burriss’s baserunning and athleticism are intriguing, but he’s never hit a lick, and his projected .281 wOBA from ZiPS highlights his offensive futility. I’m not saying the Giants are crazy for banking on Burriss to be a productive major league player, but I don’t think it’s going to happen.
The team got a little less ragin’ today, never forget BFFs: