A Tribute to Santiago Casilla

by
Greek Giant

Santiago Casilla was a good Giant. His disastrous 2016 season,  his momentary lapse of baseball etiquette displaying anger at being removed by Bruce Bochy, and his omission from the parade of relievers in the fateful ninth of Game 4 all mar his record and reputation. But athletes should not be remembered solely for their ignominy. The 36 year-old Dominican native has had a stellar career as the Giants closer or set-up man prior to 2016. He will always be part of that remarkable core four (with Javy Lopez, Sergio Romo, and Jeremy Affeldt) that contributed greatly to three rings in five years.

We are defined neither by our failures or successes, but how we react to them. Santiago Casilla posted a WHIP of .857 in 2014 and 1.123 in 2011. His remarkable consistency, until 2016, were hallmarks for the bullpen that allowed Bruce Bochy to have clearly-defined roles for his relief corps. When he was demoted in 2012 after blowing more saves than acceptable, he reacted with grace and a strong conclusion to his season.

The Exciting 2014 Comeback Against the Pirates

I was at this game in 2014 in Pittsburgh. The Giants fell behind early by 6 runs and then rallied to tie it. They gave up the lead and rallied again to hang on to an 11 inning victory that was one of the signature moments of a championship season.

Casilla was a always the quiet, mysterious member of the Pen. He was mostly well-regarded by his teammates and a big part of the Giants identity in the championship years. He rarely received his due in the media or among fans. He was healthy for the bulk of career and he was a great free agent signing by Brian Sabean in 2010.

Oh, and by the way, Santiago Casilla just happened to be the winning pitcher in this game:

The Tigers did not have a hit after the 6th inning in that game Game 4 of the 2012 World Series!

Back to the current day: It appears almost certain that Casilla will not be re-signed by the Giants since he is now a free agent. One never knows but after his 2016 season Casilla will probably be signed by another team looking for a veteran presence in their bullpen.

Thank you Santiago for your fine work as a Giant!