Throw It Like a Ballplayer

providing baseball commentary and ponderings since April 2010

Mike Fontenot, Former Cub

Posted by dannmckeegan on August 11, 2010

I was tempted to headline this “Cubs Acquire Speedy Outfielder Crawford,” but that would have been somewhat misleading.  Earlier today, the Chicago Cubs dealt backup infielder Mike Fontenot to the other clubhouse at AT&T Park in San Francisco.  In return, the Cubs receive the Giants’ 9th round pick from the 2009 draft, Evan Crawford.  He’s a 22-year-old outfielder who has spent 2010 at Class A Augusta in the South Atlantic League.

Crawford’s a speedster, with 24 SB in 33 attempts this year.  He’s only hitting .255/.319/.366, but of his 110 hits, he has 10 2B, 10 3B, and 4 HR.  He’s listed on Baseball-Reference.com at 6’2″ and only 167 pounds.  He has a 3-to-1 strikeout/walk ratio, which he needs to improve upon.  A .250 average, poor plate discipline, and a twiggy figure aren’t exactly sure signs of a future major-leaguer.  Rather, they look like the kid needs to hunt down a DeLorean and head back to the 1980s, when Otis Nixon roamed the earth and roadrunner-types with low OBPs consistently found their way to the top of the order.

Fontenot displaces Andres Torres and Tim Lincecum as the Littlest Giant.  Edgar Renteria is headed to the 15-day DL with a biceps strain to make room on the roster for the time being.  After playing a modest role with the Giants in 2008 and 2009, infielder Emmanuel Burriss was just recently brought back up the team and has had 4 plate appearances.  While likely a better fielder, Burriss doesn’t have Fontenot’s bat or ability to play third base (albeit poorly).  Burriss will likely be the odd man out when Renteria is again healthy.

Given Giants 2B Freddy Sanchez’s poor performance in 2010, Fontenot likely has the opportunity to pry some plate appearances away and potentially find himself in a platoon down the stretch.  Sanchez has only a .639 OPS on the year in 316 plate appearances.  His UZR at 2B this year is 0.7, compared to the -0.9 Mike Fontenot has put up in less time.  Fontenot is, however, a plus defender in his career at 2B according to UZR.  And while a .724 OPS isn’t anything great, it is a definite upgrade over Sanchez, especially coming from the left side.

As far as the Cubs’ necessary roster move goes, I haven’t checked a Cubs.com article, but I’ll guess that MI Darwin Barney will join the team tonight or tomorrow, making his debut shortly and becoming the 39th player, 18th position player (Micah Hoffpauir 16, Welington Castillo 17), 15th rookie, and 16th Cub farm system product to be on the active roster.  This also clears a spot on the 40-man roster, though I expect the team to keep that empty for the sake of flexibility.  Now I’ll go check to see what the Cubs are doing for roster spot number 25…

…Cubs.com confirms that Barney will be called up.  Apparently the trade just went down around 7pm Central Time, so they will be a man down tonight.  Barney should join them tomorrow for the afternoon finale of the 4-game set.

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