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A's close in on deal to add Santiago Casilla to the bullpen

John Hickey, East Bay Times on

Published in Baseball

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The A's have reached an agreement on a two-year deal that would bring longtime Giants reliever Santiago Casilla back into the Oakland bullpen.

Casilla, who rose from setup man in 2010 and 2011 to become the primary closer in San Francisco four of the last five seasons, and the A's are trying to lock down a deal that would bring him $11 million over the two seasons, plus incentives.

He would fit into the back end of an A's bullpen that could be one of the club's strengths with closer Ryan Madson and setup men John Axford, Liam Hendriks, Ryan Dull and Sean Doolittle. All but Doolittle are right-handed, and it's possible the A's could use one of those in a trade should the right deal arise.

Casilla originally signed with the A's and spent the 2004-2009 seasons in the East Bay before jumping across the bridge to the Giants, where after signing as a minor league free agent he was part of a bullpen that helped San Francisco win three World Series titles in his first five seasons there.

The right-hander, who will be 36 this season, had never had an ERA above 2.84 during his time with the Giants until 2016, when he skied to 3.57 and was eased out of the closer's role in September by manager Bruce Bochy, a move that had both manager and pitcher at odds. He saved 31 games, but it was the total of nine blown saves, three of them while the Giants were trying to lock down a post-season bid in September.

He got the chance to redeem his season against the Cubs in the post-season, but he suffered another blown save in Game 4 of the National League Division Series after inheriting a three-run lead in the ninth inning.

Signed by the A's out of the Dominican Republic under the name Jairo Garcia, Casilla had a 5.11 ERA during his six seasons with Oakland and saved just four games. He found himself with the Giants, three times having sub-2.00 ERAs in his seven seasons there.

(c)2017 East Bay Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.)

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