I’ve mentioned Dirk Hayhurst here before. For those who missed it or forgot, Hayhurst — known on Twitter and elsewhere as @TheGarfoose — is a mostly minor league pitcher, most notable to us for having written “The Bullpen Gospels.”
The book was published last year, and it’s a great one. Sort of a “Ball Four” for the modern age, inasmuch as it (a) gives a great behind-the-scenes look at how a baseball team works; and (b) pairs that stuff up with the mature and reflective observations of a none-too-typical ballplayer. Plus, like me, Hayhurst lives in Ohio and there’s a lot to be said for that.
Mostly a minor leaguer, Hayhurst has 25 major league appearances under his belt, split between San Diego and Toronto. He sat out last season following arm surgery. He announced on his blog last night, however, that the Blue Jays are going to let him go. He’s nothing but complimentary to the Jays as an organization and Toronto as a city. It’s a great post and definitely worth your time. In many ways it’s “Bullpen Gospels” writ-small. Hayhurst may not be a future Cy Young winner, but he observes and thinks about everything. I get the sense he’s getting more out of his journey through professional baseball than the guys who win awards and make millions.
I also hope that his (near) hometown team Indians take a chance on him. Mostly because that means he’ll likely start the year here in Columbus, and I can take him out for a beer.
Free agent left-hander Rich Hill is rumored to be entertaining a three-year, $40+ million offer from the Dodgers, reports Peter Gammons. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo corroborated the report, adding that Hill could receive somewhere between $46 and $48 million from his former team.
Hill, 36, pitched to a 2.12 ERA and 3.91 FIP in back-to-back stints with the Athletics and Dodgers in 2016. While a chronic case of blisters on his pitching hand limited the frequency of his starts, he still figures to be one of the most productive and noteworthy starting pitchers on the market this winter.
The Orioles, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Astros have all been mentioned as potential suitors for the left-hander’s services, though Orioles’ GM Dan Duquette said the club has yet to make a play for Hill and ESPN’s Jim Bowden pointed out that the Red Sox are less involved in trade talks than other interested parties.
In light of the Astros’ deal for veteran designated hitter Carlos Beltran on Saturday, the Yankees are thought to be intensifying their pursuit of free agent Edwin Encarnacion, reports Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. The Yankees never made an official offer to Beltran, but remain in need of a DH/first baseman to give them a little more power outside of a Tyler Austin–Greg Bird combo in 2017.
The Red Sox, on the other hand, are reportedly withdrawing their interest when it comes to the Encarnacion sweepstakes. According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, they will look for a hitter to beef up their lineup without taking a “big plunge” on the 34-year-old.
Encarnacion enjoyed another All-Star run with the Blue Jays in 2016, hitting at a .263/.357/.529 clip with 42 homers and a league-leading 127 RBI in 702 PA. He’s expected to command a significant contract in free agency, and agent Paul Kinzer said that a potential deal is unlikely to be finalized before the Winter Meetings as Encarnacion is not close to agreeing to any offer. Interested teams include the Blue Jays and the Astros, though Beltran’s signing appears to have effectively taken Houston out of the running for the slugger.