Pat Burrell powers Giants to early lead over Braves

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Already a lot going on in this one.

The Giants were fortunate enough to survive an early scare, as Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval collided attempting to track down a foul ball hit by Jason Heyward in the first inning. Amazingly, Posey managed to catch the ball and both players stayed in the game. It could have been a lot worse.

In the bottom of the first, Pat Burrell slugged a three-run shot to give the Giants an early 3-0 lead. Matt Cain tacked on a run-scoring single in the bottom of the second to push the advantage to 4-0.

What’s with all these managers getting ejected in the postseason? Don’t have one in five years, now we have three in two days. Bobby Cox added to his own record by getting the boot from first base umpire Paul Emmel in the second inning. Cox argued that Aubrey Huff pulled his foot off first base on a groundball hit by Alex Gonzalez. It looks like he had a pretty good case. Oh, by the way, Emmel was the same umpire who missed Buster Posey being out at second base last night. It’s either a vast MLB conspiracy, or someone needs to make a trip to LensCrafters.

We’re now in the bottom of the fifth inning, with the score still 4-0. Left-hander Mike Dunn has replaced starter Tommy Hanson, who gave up four runs on five hits over four innings. Matt Cain has struck out four over five scoreless innings for the Giants.  

Dodgers sign Rich Hill to a three-year, $48 million deal

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 18:  Rich Hill #44 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches in the first inning against the Chicago Cubs in game three of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on October 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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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: Giants agree to a deal with Mark Melancon

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 10:  Mark Melancon #43 of the Washington Nationals reacts after the final out as the Nationals defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-3 in game three of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 10, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
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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 PMKen 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.