A year or two ago there was a bunch of talk about how the Marlins were hot for Ozzie Guillen, with rumors shooting here and there about the Marlins giving up a player for him and what have you. That was mostly shouted down — semi-convincingly — but the resignation of Edwin Rodriguez and the fact that there will be an opening in Florida at the end of Jack McKeon’s interim stint this fall is likely to get it all chugging again.
Enter Joe Cowley’s latest piece in the Sun-Times:
A team source told the Sun-Times over the weekend that before leaving for the recent road trip, manager Ozzie Guillen approached chairman Jerry Reinsdorf about his long-term status beyond the 2012 season and didn’t like what he heard.
Which leads to the classic Guillen quotes about how this is no big deal, but at some point someone needs to tell him that he’s wanted or if, alternatively, he’s going to enter 2012 as a lame duck.
In and of itself, not crazy-big news. Just gossip and Ozzie being Ozzie. But I don’t think it’s crazy to view this as an opening salvo in the coming Ozzie-to-Florida battle
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.