We’ve heard the Dodgers connected to Cole Hamels and Shane Victorino in recent weeks, but it seems they are also considering another player on the Phillies’ roster.
Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com is reporting that the Dodgers have “some interest” in shortstop Jimmy Rollins. It’s not clear whether the Phillies are seriously considering parting with their longest-tenured player, but Knobler notes that the club has been “disappointed by his play this year” and thought he “could have done more” to guide them while Ryan Howard and Chase Utley were sidelined.
It’s probably a far-fetched possibility, but Rollins would represent an upgrade for the Dodgers, who have combined to hit just .227/.284/.302 from of the shortstop position this season. Dee Gordon is responsible for most of that and is expected to be sidelined until mid-August following surgery earlier this month to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb.
In the first year of a three-year, $33 million contract, Rollins is hitting .261/.315/.414 with eight home runs, 33 RBI, 14 stolen bases and a .729 OPS in 87 games. His contract includes an $11 million vesting option for 2015. Even if the Phillies find a taker, Rollins has 10-and-5 rights and can control his own destiny. The 33-year-old is a California native.
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.