UPDATE: John Farrell informed Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe via text message this morning that “nothing is official” regarding his hiring as the Blue Jays’ new manager. All indications are pointing in that direction, though.
8:43 AM: One source told Alex Speier of WEEI.com that “it would be surprising” if Farrell turned down the job. Barring a breakdown in negotiations, look for an official announcement before the World Series begins on Wednesday.
9:26 PM, Friday: We hinted at the possibility yesterday and now it appears that the Blue Jays have come to a decision on a replacement for Cito Gaston.
Multiple industry sources tell Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com that Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell has been offered the Blue Jays’ manager job. The only thing that stands in the way of making this official is for the two sides to agree on a contract.
McAdam reported earlier today that Red Sox third base coach DeMarlo Hale and Sandy Alomar Jr. were informed that they were out of the running for the job. By process of elimination, it looks like the decision ultimately came down to Farrell and Blue Jays third base Brian Butterfield.
Farrell has no previous managerial experience, but he has served as Red Sox pitching coach since 2007 and previously worked as the Director of Player Development with the Indians from 2001-06.
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.