Ryan Ludwick suffered a dislocated right shoulder while sliding into third base yesterday and the Reds announced that he’ll undergo surgery tomorrow to repair torn cartilage.
There’s no official timetable for his return yet, but the Reds placed Ludwick on the disabled list and obviously he’s going to be out for a while.
Chris Heisey is the obvious fill in, although if Ludwick’s injury keeps him out for months rather than weeks the Reds could eventually turn to top prospect Billy Hamilton in center field, with Shin-Soo Choo shifting to left field.
For now though Hamilton is at Triple-A, making life miserable for International League catchers, and Heisey will get a chance to play regularly after hitting .258 with a .750 OPS in 338 games as a part-timer during the past three seasons.
Ludwick had a big bounceback year in 2012, hitting .275 with 26 homers and an .877 OPS, and then re-signed with the Reds for $15 million over two seasons.
UPDATE: Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that Ludwick is expected to miss three months.
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.