Interesting angle on the Rangers’ pursuit of Cliff Lee from Evan Grant today. He thinks Chuck Greenberg “made what could be a very dangerous spur-of-the-moment decision,” in getting involved in the Lee negotiations directly, effectively overruling and undercutting team President Nolan Ryan and GM Jon Daniels who had made it clear as of Wednesday that they did not intend to get into a bidding war for Lee. Grant compares it all to Tom Hicks getting involved in the Alex Rodriguez negotiations ten years ago.
I can see that, but I tend to think this is a lesson that will be learned by the Rangers, and not a hard lesson. As in, I don’t think they’ll end up winning Lee and thus having to live with a big contract, for the reasons I said earlier today.
Also worth noting that this isn’t just my speculation. Other major league sources have told me — based on their own views of the matter, not on any inside-intelligence — that they don’t think the Rangers will win it. What’s more, they think that’s possibly by design, with all of this being a big show so they can tell fans back home that they tried their hardest. Maybe that’s a bit too cynical — I said as much this morning, but I’m not 100% convinced of it myself — but the fact remains that the people I spoke with would be shocked if the Rangers won.*
Me too. And thus, though I think Evan is right that Greenberg going over Nolan Ryan and Jon Daniels’ head here is problematic, it probably won’t be giant problem.
At least until he does it again with the next big free agent fish.
*Probably worth noting that we were all shocked when the Angels didn’t Carl Crawford too.
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.