Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman runs down what he considers to be “October’s Disasters.” Top of the list? The manager of the team that’s probably going to win the World Series:
It may be a little odd to put the manager of the team that’s leading the ALCS 3-2 in games atop this list [note: this was posted before last night’s game]. But Girardi has had a very strange postseason indeed. Joe Torre wrote a bestseller this year, and I can’t wait for Girardi’s new tome, Over-Managing 101. Girardi apparently already has a dreary book of overwrought stats in the dugout, and he’s gone to it once or two or maybe even three times too many.
Girardi’s blunders have been well-documented, but at some point doesn’t the outcome trump the mistakes? The definition of a “disaster” is “a calamitous event bringing great damage, loss, or destruction; a sudden or great misfortune or failure.” Girardi has been less than ideal, but with the talent at his disposal, any one decision he makes is fairly unimportant. And obviously the outcome hasn’t been too terribly affected by anything he’s done.
Given the other possible choices — Matt Holliday, Chip Caray, the umpires, Mike Scioscia, and anything having to do with the Dodgers’ NLCS performance — I think Girardi needs to be moved down that list quite a bit.
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.