Paul Konerko and Shane Victorino went wire-to-wire in winning the All-Star Game Final Vote and will be the 34th men on their respective teams next week.
With no Yankees nor Red Sox making the cut, Konerko’s path to claiming the AL opening was clear. He held off Victor Martinez, Alex Gordon, Adam Jones and Ben Zobrist for the much-deserved nod. Konerko ranks fourth in the AL with 22 homers and 64 RBI and sixth with a .319 average.
Victorino also looked like the right choice, if only because the NL couldn’t even put fellow center fielder Andrew McCutchen on the ballot. Victorino, who also won the final vote in 2009, beat out Andre Ethier, Todd Helton, Michael Morse and Ian Kennedy.
Unfortunately, Victorino is currently sidelined with a sprained right thumb that could keep him out of next week’s contest. But maybe that just means McCutchen will take his spot. The NL squad had just one legitimate center fielder in Matt Kemp before Victorino was added, so it’s make more sense to replace him with another center fielder than with Ethier.
7:25 p.m. EDT update: A cool note from MLB.com’s Scott Merkin:
Konerko was to get $15,000 bonus for making the All-Star team. As a thank you for the fan vote, he’s donating it to White Sox Charities
Former Tigers infielder Casey McGehee has reportedly signed a one-year deal with the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
It’s the fourth move the corner infielder has made in the last two seasons after seeing short-term stints with the Marlins, Giants and Tigers. He signed a minor league deal with the Tigers prior to the 2016 season, providing the club with some infield depth behind 24-year-old Nick Castellanos. When Castellanos hit the disabled list in August with a broken hand, McGehee was recalled from Triple-A Toledo for a 30-game stint and slashed .228/.260/.239 with one extra-base hit in 96 PA. His career batting line (.258/.317/.384 over eight seasons) isn’t too shabby, but his age and a long history of knee injuries puts a damper on his potential.
McGehee last appeared in the NPB circuit in 2013, when he signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. He spent the bulk of his season at the hot corner, batting an impressive .292/.396/.515 with 28 homers in 590 PA and appearing in the Eagles’ first and only championship run to date.
The deal comes with a club option for 2018, Rosenthal reports, though no figure has been specified.
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.