One of the better developments of the early season has been the return of The Fightins. It’s a great Phillies blog that had gone on hiatus for a while. I missed them because they are one of the few Phillies voices out there that doesn’t obsess about how the world views Philly. Rather, they actually, you know, seem to have a lot of fun watching a great baseball team and don’t cry if someone disrespects the blog’s namesake. What a concept.
Oh, and then they do stuff like unleash The Elusive Citizens Bank Park Dumpster Hippie. Which is pretty much what it sounds like. And be sure to read the second comment.
In other news, the Braves head to Philly for a big series this weekend. If Atlanta is going to at least try to make a race of it it’s pretty important that they do well. If you’re looking for a nice preview of it, you can start at Crashburn Alley, who talks to Braves blogger Peter Hjort about the series.
My personal view: life is always better when the Bravos miss Roy Halladay. Life is always worse when they face Cole Hamels. It’s not like there are a lot of good options in matching up, however. That said, I like the way Atlanta is playing right now a hell of a lot better than they were the last time these two met.
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.