The Best: They’ve stayed quite steady over the course of their 56-year existence, but they’ve changed little details more than you might remember. They’ve switched between various cartoon and various realistic birds a number of times and they’ve messed with the orange/black/white ratio on the hats too. They’ve always looked pretty sharp, though, never running away from the orange the way teams in other sports do from time to time. Of many good looks, I’m going with the cartoon bird-on-the- black-hat-with-orange-bill look they wore from 1966-70.
And let’s not forget the St. Louis Brown portion of their franchise’s history. They were like a reverse-Yankees or reverse-Red Sox: they had a steady classic look until the late 30s, and then they changed to some weird options. With their obvious use of brown, however, perhaps they can show the Padres the way into a tasteful brown future.
The Worst: The famous all-orange alternates were not a regular look — I believe they only wore them on a handful of occasions — but it wasn’t good. Like so many other teams, the Orioles looked bad when they chased the black uniform trend as well.
Assessment: They’ve always kept things coherent and have never strayed too far from a core look and color scheme. And they’ve never done anything truly terrible. The most animated I’ve ever heard an Orioles fan get about their uniforms has involved returning the word “Baltimore” to the front of the roadies, which they did this past season. As far as uniforms go, the Orioles have always had a handle on things, and that’s pretty admirable.
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.