The unintended fallout from Saturday’s report in Venezuelan newspaper Diario Panorama regarding free agent Marco Scutaro is yet another cautionary tale of what can happen when Hot Stove news is misinterpreted.
Augusto Cardenas, who conducted the interview with Scutaro, wrote in a series of “tweets” that the Red Sox, Dodgers, Mariners and Rangers were among those interested
in the 34-year-old infielder. According to the report, Scutaro was
approached about playing shortstop for the Red Sox, second base for the
Dodgers and third base by other teams.
Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times, who spoke to Cardenas on the phone, took this to mean that the Mariners and Rangers were the teams to contact Scutaro about third base, a rather curious development from the Rangers’ perspective with Michael Young expected to be the starter.
Jordan Bastain, who relayed the news via MLB.com’s Hot Stove Blog, quickly corrected the error, but the rumors made it far enough that that Rangers general manager Jon Daniels was forced to address the rumblings with Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.
“We haven’t inquired about anyone for 3B and have no plans to,” Daniels wrote in an email. “End of story.”
Saturday’s Hot Stove lesson? The game “Telephone” can be just as dangerous, if not more so, over the series of tubes that is the internet.
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.