So much for that vote of confidence last week, huh?
Jim Hendry has been fired as the Cubs general manager, reports David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com. The termination is effective immediately. Kaplan reports that Hendry is currently meeting with the Cubs in the clubhouse, presumably being thanked by the players for all of those ridiculous contracts he handed out like so much candy. Randy Bush is the interim GM.
Hendry has been on board since 2002. It has been a surprisingly long tenure for someone with such a poor track record. The Cubs under his watch managed a decent season here or there, but they are currently hamstrung by bad contracts and poor roster construction. With $30 million coming off the payroll after this season, it’s a fine time to give someone else a shot. And that’s what Tom Ricketts is doing.
UPDATE: Hendry is currently speaking to the press, which you can see at CSNChicago.com. Some crazy stuff going down. Hendry says that he was actually fired on July 22nd, but that he was held on to get through the trade deadline and the signing of draft picks. If you’ll recall, the Cubs had a profoundly quiet deadline, moving no one of the many players many of us thought they would or at least should move. Hendry just touched on that saying that “those moves are for the next guy.” Certainly explains a lot.
Also worth noting that Hendry is really, really emotional, crying through the presser. Ugh. I know a lot of Cubs fans were waiting for this day, but there isn’t much joy to be had here.
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.