Tempers have just a few days to cool off before the Dodgers and Padres play in Los Angeles on Monday. That Matt Kemp wants a piece of Carlos Quentin is undeniable, and it’s safe to say he’s not the only Dodger who feels that way — he’s just the biggest and strongest.
Still, those expecting anything more than a typical ballgame Monday are likely to be disappointed for a few reasons.
First, April 15 is Jackie Robinson Day in MLB. The Dodgers take that day even a little more seriously than the rest of the league does, and it’s safe to say that the commissioner’s office will let it be known the league is not to be embarrassed on that date. What a mess it would be if a brawl broke out between 50 guys wearing Jackie’s No. 42 on their backs.
Second, Don Mattingly would look like a pretty big hypocrite if, after all of his righteous anger last night, he let his players take matters into their own hands and go ahead Quentin. Mattingly called for Quentin to be suspended for however long Greinke is absent. That’s not going to happen, of course. But Mattingly would look really bad if one of his players went and knocked Quentin out for a considerable period of time.
Third, it’s just too obvious anyway. The Dodgers don’t seem to have any issues with any Padres except Quentin. There’s no reason for them to drill anyone else. And if they retaliate at Quentin now, they’ll just be hurting themselves with the suspensions sure to result. The Dodgers and Padres play six series this year. There will be plenty of time for them to take aim at Quentin later, if they so choose. Or maybe they could just be the bigger men and focus on beating the Padres on the scoreboard.
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.