Former Chicago Cubs second baseman Mike Fontenot has signed a minor league deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, after the Phillies, Atlanta Braves, and Toronto Blue Jays were interested in acquiring the depth middle-infielder.
He will be their primary back-up behind Freddy Galvis, but don’t expect the former star minor leaguer’s place as a starter to be affected. He has been impressive so far this season and homered yesterday against the New York Mets.
Fontenot is an average defensive infielder, and he decided to choose a move to the Phillies over their NL East rivals, the Atlanta Braves. Pete Orr will no longer be utilized as much off of the bench, and Mike Fontenot greatly shores up depth on a team that is missing Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Michael Martinez. He provides good positional versatility and is a solid fit for the Phillies, with most projection systems seeing him as a 1 WAR player.
At the end of Spring Training, Mike Fontenot was released by the San Francisco Giants after a 1 WAR season in 2011. He finished with a sub-.300 wOBA (87 wRC+) and expect about a 90 wRC+ going forward.
He was very unlucky last season with a .267 BABIP, which killed his OBP, especially since he is a light-hitting infielder. Expect Fontenot’s OBP to rise from .304 to .320 and a wOBA at just under .310 next year.
Although Mike Fontenot will never be the 3 WAR player he was in 2008 (an anomaly year of the Jason Marquis variety), he is a quality infield backup that will help out the Phillies by adding some good depth. He had some bad luck last season and was wise to pick the Phillies as his team. Fontenot’s plate discipline has been improving each season, and he has been swinging at less pitches outside of the zone to bring down his whiff rates. He is one of the better options in the league as a back-up 2B, and this was a nice, roster-building move for Philly.
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