Scott Cousins — the man who flattened Buster — spoke to the San Francisco Chronicle earlier today. The upshot: he does not regret the play, which he thought was a clean, albeit hard-nosed play. He does, however, regret that Posey was hurt and, of course, never intended to hurt him:
I committed to it. I went in there hard. My instinct was just to check and make sure everyone was OK. I wanted to be a good sportsman about it. It is part of the game, but it’s a hard-nosed part of the game. You can’t change it, but you certainly don’t want anyone to get hurt. I wanted to knock the ball clean out of his glove, but I certainly didn’t want him to get hurt.”
This of course has led to a lot of “sure, you feel bad, but not as bad as Posey does” talk from both Giants fans and even from Bruce Bochy in an article I saw earlier this afternoon. Which I suppose is understandable. As the comments in the earlier Posey posts at HBT illustrate, there is a lot of varying sentiment about it. As far as I can tell the consensus is yeah, it was a legal play, and one we see a lot of in baseball, but Cousins attack vector may not have been advisable or necessary.
I still can’t shake one notion, however. The notion that if Cousins had held up short or taken a less-than-aggressive path to the plate and been called out, that a lot of people would be on him today for not going hard and giving that proverbial 110%.
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.