Veteran right-hander Jeremy Guthrie found new life when he was traded from the Rockies to the Royals on July 20, posting a 3.16 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP in his final 14 starts. He’s set to hit the open market five days after the conclusion of the 2012 World Series, so the Kansas City front office is scrambling to put together a proposal in the hope that he’ll re-sign before even getting a whiff of free agency.
“There’s always a chance (of working out a deal before other teams get a shot at him),” Royals general manager Dayton Moore told reporters this weekend. “These negotiations seem to go much better and smoother for everybody when you keep it between the two parties.”
Guthrie earned $8.2 million this summer in his third and final year of arbitration. He seems likely to settle for a cut in pay given how poorly he pitched for the Rockies in the first half (6.35 ERA in 90 2/3 innings), but the Royals will risk losing him for good if their offer is too low in either length or salary.
Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star suspects that the Royals won’t do anything longer than two years.
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.