I’m sure dozens of unconsummated trade proposals happen ever year that, if followed up on a few years later, would make people utterly sick. MVP candidates who could have been had for a song when they were kids, prospect-for-prospect deals that could have totally changed the face of the game if someone had actually pulled the trigger. People tend not to talk about those things too often, however, be it due to a failure of memory or a very human unwillingness to dwell on roads not taken.
But ESPN’s Keith Law remembers a doozy from back when he was J.P. Ricciardi’s assistant in Toronto. Would you believe the Mets offering up a young David Wright for a soon-to-be free agent Jose Cruz Jr.?
I’ve been asked about that trade rumor for three years but never answered while Ricciardi was still GM. The offer was made, though; I was there when the call came in. It was the first time I’d heard of Wright, since I wasn’t with Toronto in 2001 nor had I followed the draft when Wright was in it. JP’s reaction was, “I’m not trading a major league player for some guy in the Sally League.” And that was pretty much that.
Now, to be fair, at the time the Blue Jays had Eric Hinske manning third base. He was 24, went on to win the Rookie of the Year award that year, and was generally expected to be The Man at the hot corner in Toronto for a long time. Wright was playing third for the Capital City Bombers, hitting .266 with minimal power. I have no clue how he was thought of then, but it’s not like he was getting the press of a can’t-miss-stud or anything. If the Mets were shopping him to Toronto, they were probably shopping him elsewhere too, and everyone else took a pass, so it’s not like we should pile on Ricciardi for this. Especially when there are so many better reasons to pile on.
Just an interesting insight into front office life. The kind of insight that, if Keith decides he doesn’t want to work in a front office again, would fit really nicely into a big book about front office life. Hint hint, Keith.
The Dodgers have signed lefty Rich Hill to a three-year, $48 million contract.The deal was reported to be imminent over the weekend, but was finalized today following Hill’s physical.
Hill missed a good deal of time in 2016 with blister issues — and he’ll be 37-years-old on Opening Day — but when he was healthy he was fantastic, posting the best season in his 12-year career. He had a a 2.12 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 110.1 innings between the Athletics and Dodgers.
Along with a healthy Clayton Kershaw a maturing Julio Urias and Kenta Maeda, the Dodgers rotation looks to be a strength in 2017.
UPDATE: Buster Olney reports that a deal is in place pending a physical. The financial terms are not yet known. UPDATE: Joel Sherman of the New York Post hears it’s in the four-year, $62 million range. That will make him, temporarily at least, the highest-paid closer in baseball history.
12:15 PM: Ken Rosenthal reports that the San Francisco Giants are close to a deal with closer Mark Melancon.
Melancon had an outstanding 2016, posting a 1.64 ERA, 2.42 FIP and a 5.42 K/BB rate in 71.1 innings while saving 47 games for the Pirates and Nationals. You may recall that the Giants had a strong interest in Melancon last summer. It was a well-founded interest given the bullpen woes which waylaid San Francisco in the second half of last season and continued on into the playoffs.
The terms of the apparently impeding deal will be known soon enough, but Rosenthal reported yesterday that Melancon was fielding offers in the four-years, $60 million range. That’s a lot for a closer, but it’ll probably look like a bargain compared to the deals signed with the other two top closers on the market, Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen. Some have speculated that Chapman could get a deal closer to $100 million than $50 million, though that seems optimistic.
What the past couple of seasons have shown, however, is that having a top bullpen will get you very, very far in Major League Baseball. Champan may have been gassed at the end of Game 7, but he was essential to the Cubs’ World Series title. Powerful bullpens gave the Royals a title in 2015 and the Indians an AL pennant this past year. A weak one was, obviously, the Giants’ achilles heel.
Their great need at the back end of the pen, according to Rosenthal’s report, is apparently about to be filled.