The Best: Wow, this is tough! Do I go with 1937? 1947? 1957? 1967? 1977? 1987? 1997? 2007? 2017? OK, that last one was merely speculative, but there you go. The point is: there are so many options!
The Yankees, obviously, know what looks good and how to stick with it. With the exception of an occasional patch, some updated fabrics, and differences in tightness and looseness depending on the fashion of the time, their uniform has been unchanged for 74 years. You don’t mess with perfection, and the Yankees’ uniform is perfect. In 20,000 years, when alien archeologists excavate the ruins of our planet and try to piece together the important aspects of our culture, they will find the Yankee uniform and hold it up as the ideal. It is baseball. And no matter how much you hate the Yankees, if you don’t admit it, you’re lying.
The Worst: This is all relative, of course. Pfun Pfact: they first put the interlocking “NY” on the uniforms in 1905, but it was an off–and-on thing for years thereafter, and didn’t stick for good until 1936. Still, they never looked bad. Even in dark blue. Even without pinstripes. Though, I suppose, we have to pick one of those for the worst of all time, because the Yankees look freakin’ weird without pinstripes.
Assessment: I have a personal, idiosyncratic favorite that is not the New York Yankees — we’ll get to it on Monday — but you could put any ballplayer in history in a Yankees uniform and they’d look pretty damn spiffy. Even guys like David Wells.
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.