* Charlie Manuel refused to take ninth-inning duties away from Brad
Lidge despite a 7.27 ERA and six blown saves, but he’ll have no choice
now that the closer has landed on the disabled list
with a sprained knee. Ryan Madson will get the save chances in Lidge’s
absence after posting a 2.22 ERA and 31/9 K/BB ratio in 28.1 innings as
a setup man.
* Nate McLouth faced his overly emotional ex-teammates in a 15-inning Braves win last night
and went 3-for-7 with a homer while his replacement in center field,
Andrew McCutchen, went 4-for-7 with a double and two triples.
* Mike Cameron has been suspended two games
for making contact with umpire Marvin Hudson during Saturday’s game,
but the center fielder announced plans to be appeal by saying: “If you
look at the tape, you’ll see I didn’t bump him.”
* Rich Harden’s rehab outing was delayed one day because he was
feeling sick, but he was relatively effective in 4.2 innings at
Triple-A yesterday and could be cleared to rejoin the Cubs’ rotation as soon as this weekend.
Free agent closer Mark Melancon is entertaining at least two offers in the four-year, $60+ million ballpark, reports FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. The teams thought to be in the running are the Giants and Nationals, with the Giants having a slight edge due to their strong interest in him last summer (per ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick).
Crasnick also said that while the Giants are keeping tabs on the top three free agent closers this winter, the other two being Kenley Jansen and Aroldis Chapman, they’re leaning toward Melancon as a (slightly) more affordable option in the ‘pen. It’s worth noting that Melancon would not cost the Giants a draft pick if they decided to sign him.
Melancon had an outstanding season in 2016, nearly reaching career-best numbers with a 1.64 ERA, 2.42 FIP and 5.42 K/BB rate in 71 1/3 innings split between the Pirates and Nationals’ bullpens. The veteran right-hander earned his third career All-Star distinction after stifling opposing hitters with a 1.23 ERA and 7.9 K/9 rate in the first half, and went on to appear in his fourth consecutive playoff run.
Despite the Giants’ apparent lead in the bidding for Melancon, Rosenthal mentioned a third mystery team who might throw their hat in the ring as well. No clubs have been name-dropped as of yet.
Former Tigers infielder Casey McGehee has reportedly signed a one-year deal with the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
It’s the fourth move the corner infielder has made in the last two seasons after seeing short-term stints with the Marlins, Giants and Tigers. He signed a minor league deal with the Tigers prior to the 2016 season, providing the club with some infield depth behind 24-year-old Nick Castellanos. When Castellanos hit the disabled list in August with a broken hand, McGehee was recalled from Triple-A Toledo for a 30-game stint and slashed .228/.260/.239 with one extra-base hit in 96 PA. His career batting line (.258/.317/.384 over eight seasons) isn’t too shabby, but his age and a long history of knee injuries puts a damper on his potential.
McGehee last appeared in the NPB circuit in 2013, when he signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. He spent the bulk of his season at the hot corner, batting an impressive .292/.396/.515 with 28 homers in 590 PA and appearing in the Eagles’ first and only championship run to date.
The deal comes with a club option for 2018, Rosenthal reports, though no figure has been specified.