Remember a couple of years ago how everyone said Cliff Lee “left money on the table” to sign with the Phillies? I actually doubt he left money on the table — no one knows for sure what the Yankees were offering him — but I was pleased that the “money on the table” metaphor got goosed with all of that. I now like to picture all free agent negotiations taking place in a room with a big table and large stacks of cash.
Anyway, Lee must have let Anibal Sanchez borrow his table this past week:
Sanchez’s agent, Gene Mato, said that Sanchez left money on the table at the winter meetings, when an unnamed team offered him a contract, but that Sanchez didn’t want to make his decision on money, but rather comfortability.
Don’t say a thing about “comfortability.” I make up words all the time myself, and as long as everyone knows what they mean I think it’s good.
As for Sanchez leaving money on the table: I am doing the little Mr. Spock thing in which one eyebrow is raised. Partly out of skepticism, partly out of curiosity.
It would have to be a team which keeps its lips locked and about whom we tend not to hear rumors before something actually happens. The first two that spring to mind are the Blue Jays and the Yankees, and the Yankees aren’t in the market for an $80 million+ starting pitcher. Could be the Jays, I suppose.
Or it could be an agent trying to make it sound like his client didn’t just use another team — the Cubs — as a bogey in order to extract a few extra million from the team with whom his client wanted to sign all along. What say you, Mr. Mato?
The next morning, he called me early in the morning and said, ‘Listen, I want to be a Tiger.’ It was pretty clear from the beginning, to me, that Anibal really wanted to be a Tiger, so I did everything in my ability to make that happen.”
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.