While Juan Uribe was the story for the Dodgers last night, they got a major scare in the second inning when Matt Kemp felt a sharp pain in his surgically-repaired left shoulder during an at-bat. He stayed in the game initially, drawing a walk and playing the next half-inning in the field, but was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the third inning.
Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports that Kemp received a cortisone injection in his acromioclavicular joint, where the collarbone meets the shoulder. Doctors determined that the pain he was feeling was in the joint and not the labrum, which is where he had surgery last October. While that’s good news, he appears likely to miss a couple of games at the very least.
“I felt something weird in my shoulder and it kind of scared me a little bit,” said Kemp. “But others say it’s pretty normal for labrum surgery, I heard from other players. The cortisone shot calmed it down. It was very scary. I never felt anything like that. Worse than running into the wall.”
It’s unfortunate timing for Kemp, who finally showed signs of a rebound in recent days by hitting home runs in back-to-back games. The Dodgers got Carl Crawford back from the disabled list yesterday, so they have the outfield depth to make due for now. But a healthy and productive Kemp will be essential as they attempt to make a run of things in the National League West.
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.
Buster Olney of ESPN reports that the Blue Jays have signed Steve Pearce to a two-year deal worth $12.5 million.
Pearce, 33 had some health issues in 2016, but he hit .288/.374/.492 across 302 plate appearances when he was on the field and he mashes lefties in particular. Pearce is versatile as well, logging time at first base, second base, right field, left field, and DH in 2016 while splitting time between the Rays and Orioles.