The Red Sox are sitting out the Zack Greinke chase and they don’t seem very interested in spending what it would take to land Anibal Sanchez, but they are kicking the tires on Ryan Dempster and Kyle Lohse, according to reports.
WEEI’s Alex Speier writes about the interest in Dempster, who is seeking a three-year deal. Dempster, 35, had a 2.25 ERA in 16 starts for the Cubs and then a 5.09 ERA in 12 starts for the Rangers last year. His stint with the Rangers was his first in the AL after 15 seasons in the NL.
CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman has the Red Sox and Angels among the suitors for Lohse, who wants a four- or five-year deal. Lohse, 34, went 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA for the Cardinals last season. He was also 2-1 with a 3.98 ERA in four postseason starts. Lohse has pitched in the NL each of the last six years after opening his career 51-57 with a 4.88 ERA in six years with the Twins.
The Red Sox are also looking at Brandon McCarthy and could well be in the running for Edwin Jackson and Shaun Marcum before all is said and done. They were among the teams that considered Dan Haren, both before he officially became a free agent and afterwards, but according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, they were scared off by his medicals.
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.