(Reuters) – The Oakland Athletics beefed up their bullpen on Friday by signing former San Francisco Giants closer Santiago Casilla on a two-year contract worth $11 million, the Major League Baseball team said.
Casilla, who went 2-5 with 31 saves and a 3.57 ERA in 62 relief appearances for San Francisco last year, returns to the franchise that signed him as an amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic on Jan. 31, 2000.
He made his Major League debut with Oakland in 2004 and was 6-4 with four saves and a 5.11 ERA in 152 relief appearances for the team from 2004 to 2009. Though Casilla ranked sixth in the National League for total saves last year, the three-time World Series champion also blew nine saves which tied for the most in the majors.
“As we got through the offseason, I think we felt like he was being overlooked a little bit just because of some of the narratives surrounding his departure from the Giants,” Oakland general manager David Forst was quoted as saying on the team’s website.
“I wasn’t there, and I don’t know exactly what went on, but it seems like a few blown saves toward the end of the year kind of marred what was otherwise a fantastic season for him.
“When you look at the peripheral numbers and his stuff and command and ultimately the strikeouts and the hits … he was considered one of the better closers in the game after 2015.
“It felt like a really good opportunity to bring in an accomplished pitcher to our bullpen.” Casilla, 36, is a veteran of 13 years in the majors and has gone 38-26 with 127 saves and a 3.19 ERA in 566 career appearances.
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in St. Augustine, Florida; Editing by Peter Rutherford)