Friday, March 27, 2009

30 A's in 30 Days – Santiago Casilla

Acquired: Signed as non-drafted free agent (January 31, 2000).
Contract: One year thru 2009. Eligible for arbitration after 2009.
Position: Gasoline on a brush fire.

Projected ERA: 3.66

Over/Under: From the start of 2008 until mid-May, Casilla was all but unhittable (19 1/3 innings; 22 Ks; 0.93 ERA). Then, he landed on the disabled list after appearing in half of the A's first 42 games. He returned on June 20, gave up three hits and two runs without recording an out…the end. Casilla pitched in 30 games after his DL stint and hitters unloaded at a .353/.426/.529(!!!) clip. When he's throwing his fastball around 92-94, he's effective. When he overthrows it around 96-98, it's either straight n' hittable or halfway up the backstop. When idiots like me can identify your flaws and you still can't be bothered to correct them, I have to take the OVER.

By the Numbers: 3 – Number of years Casilla "aged" between the 2005 and 2006 seasons. From 2000-05, Casilla was known as "Jairo Garcia" in the A's system. At the time the truth came out, Casilla was thought to be a raw 22-year-old flamethrower with upside. Instead, he was a 25-year-old with spotty command, a low ceiling and a 4.47 ERA in Triple-A. Along with the amount of foul territory in Oakland and GM Billy Beane's constant turnover of personnel, the Garcia/Casilla thing is mentioned at least once per series by the broadcasters of opposing teams.

Surefire '09 Prediction: Historically, the A's haven't had much patience with "hard-throwing/don't know where it's going" guys like Casilla. Oakland's bullpen has been a burial ground for the Chad Harvilles and Luis Vizcainos in years past. No way Casilla survives the season. The A's will flip him for some rotation fodder well before the trade deadline.

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