Giants sign Casilla to three-year contract

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Giants sign Casilla to three-year contract

SAN FRANCISCO – The Giants locked up an underpublicized but important piece in their bullpen, agreeing to a three-year contract with right-hander Santiago Casilla on Monday.

The deal includes a club option for 2016 with vesting language, meaning that the Giants bought out at least two of Casilla’s free-agent years and control a third. Casilla's contract, which is pending a physical, includes $15 million in guaranteed money. The average annual value is just under $5 million a year since the contract's option has a $1 million buyout if it doesn't vest and the club declines to pick it up.

Casilla, 32, has been an effective part of the Giants bullpen ever since the club signed him as a non-roster free agent prior to the 2010 season. A former A’s prospect once known as Jairo Garcia before his birth records were verified, Casilla turned his career around when he came up with a devastating spike curve that he added as a dependable complement to his mid-90s fastball. He has a 2.22 ERA in 174 games as a Giant and has been part of two World Series championship teams.

Casilla was used as the primary closer in the first half of last season, when the Giants were forced to scramble after Brian Wilson underwent reconstructive elbow surgery in April. Casilla kept the situation from imploding while he converted 19 of his first 20 save opportunities before hitting a wall around the All-Star break.

He rallied in September and while he didn’t regain the closer role, he was unscored upon in 10 of 11 postseason appearances. He was the pitcher of record in the Giants’ title-clinching Game 4 victory at Detroit.

Clearly, the Giants view their bullpen as an important asset. Earlier in the offseason, the Giants re-signed left-hander Jeremy Affeldt to a three-year contract. Sergio Romo, who served ably as the Giants’ closer down the stretch, is in just his second year of arbitration.

As for Wilson, he became a free agent Dec. 1 when the Giants declined to tender him a contract. The Giants remain interested in bringing back Wilson on a lower guaranteed salary than the minimum $6.8 million he would’ve received in arbitration. But he continues to play the field.

Giants minor leaguer, Walnut Creek native pitches perfect game

Giants minor leaguer, Walnut Creek native pitches perfect game

BOX SCORE

A Giants minor leaguer made history on Tuesday night in Kentucky.

Left-handed pitcher Domenic Mazza pitched a perfect game for the Augusta GreenJackets against the Lexington Legends.

It is the first nine-inning perfect game in the history of the Class-A South Atlanta League.

Mazza needed just 85 pitches to complete the feat and struck out nine Legends batters in the effort. The last three outs were all flyball outs and the final out set off a wild celebration by GreenJackets players, who mobbed Mazza.

Including Tuesday's performance, the 22-year-old Mazza owns a 3.48 ERA in four starts for Augusta this season. In 2016, he made 14 starts for Augusta and compiled a 3.93 ERA.

Born in Walnut Creek, Mazza attended Clayton Valley High School and played his college ball at UC Santa Barbara. The Giants drafted him in the 22nd round of the 2015 MLB Draft.

Dodgers call up top prospect day after Giants promote Arroyo

Dodgers call up top prospect day after Giants promote Arroyo

Anything you can do, I can do better.

A day after the Giants called up top prospect Christian Arroyo, the Dodgers have summoned their top prospect Cody Bellinger.

Like Arroyo, Bellinger is 21 years old. But the Dodgers' first base prospect is more highly touted.

Entering the 2017 season, Baseball America had Bellinger ranked as the No. 7 overall prospect in baseball while ESPN's Keith Law had him at No. 6. Since the beginning of the season, with prospects ahead of him graduating to the major leagues, Bellinger moved up to No. 3 on Law's list.

Arroyo and Bellinger are getting a taste of the Giants-Dodgers rivalry right away. Arroyo made his debut Monday and batted sixth. On Tuesday, Bellinger is batting eighth against Ty Blach and playing left field.

In 18 games for Triple-A Oklahoma City, Bellinger hit .343/.429/.627 with four doubles, five home runs, 15 RBI and seven stolen bases.

To make room on the 25-man roster, the Dodgers optioned outfielder Brett Eibner to Triple-A. To make room on the 40-man roster, right-handed pitcher Joe Gunkel was designated for assignment.