And now the latest from the world of pitchers who people kinda thought were good a few years ago:
- Kris Benson has signed with the Diamondbacks. It’s a minor league deal. If he makes the club he’ll get $650,000 plus games-started incentives. This is obviously Brandon Webb insurance. Which is probably a better situation for Benson than signing a minor league deal elsewhere (the Nats were vaguely interested a few weeks ago). With Webb likely starting the season on the DL he stands a good chance of making the team and getting a chance to audition for a another job if and when the Dbacks are done with him; also
- The Nationals have released Ron Villone. Between this and the Eddie
Guerrero Guardado thing (sorry; wrestling on the mind today), it’s been a rough week for ancient lefties in Nats camp. Villone, you no doubt recall, was named in the Mitchell Report and famously refused to respond to the allegations. No doubt the Nats’ decision to release him was based on part of the ongoing “Ron Villone must come clean” media circus.
Wow, quite a day for journeyman pitchers. We’re one Jarrod Washburn rumor away from a palooka trifecta! Zoinks!
Free agent left-hander Rich Hill is rumored to be entertaining a three-year, $40+ million offer from the Dodgers, reports Peter Gammons. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo corroborated the report, adding that Hill could receive somewhere between $46 and $48 million from his former team.
Hill, 36, pitched to a 2.12 ERA and 3.91 FIP in back-to-back stints with the Athletics and Dodgers in 2016. While a chronic case of blisters on his pitching hand limited the frequency of his starts, he still figures to be one of the most productive and noteworthy starting pitchers on the market this winter.
The Orioles, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Astros have all been mentioned as potential suitors for the left-hander’s services, though Orioles’ GM Dan Duquette said the club has yet to make a play for Hill and ESPN’s Jim Bowden pointed out that the Red Sox are less involved in trade talks than other interested parties.
In light of the Astros’ deal for veteran designated hitter Carlos Beltran on Saturday, the Yankees are thought to be intensifying their pursuit of free agent Edwin Encarnacion, reports Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. The Yankees never made an official offer to Beltran, but remain in need of a DH/first baseman to give them a little more power outside of a Tyler Austin–Greg Bird combo in 2017.
The Red Sox, on the other hand, are reportedly withdrawing their interest when it comes to the Encarnacion sweepstakes. According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, they will look for a hitter to beef up their lineup without taking a “big plunge” on the 34-year-old.
Encarnacion enjoyed another All-Star run with the Blue Jays in 2016, hitting at a .263/.357/.529 clip with 42 homers and a league-leading 127 RBI in 702 PA. He’s expected to command a significant contract in free agency, and agent Paul Kinzer said that a potential deal is unlikely to be finalized before the Winter Meetings as Encarnacion is not close to agreeing to any offer. Interested teams include the Blue Jays and the Astros, though Beltran’s signing appears to have effectively taken Houston out of the running for the slugger.