Brewers general manager Doug Melvin addressed Ryan Braun’s suspension prior to tonight’s game against the Padres. While he expressed disappointment about losing Braun for the rest of the season, he also said that the organization is looking forward to putting the matter behind them. Adam McCalvy of MLB.com has the quotes:
“Every year is challenging, but this has always been a cloud over the ballclub, not knowing what’s going to happen. There was a lot of speculation out there; you read about it, you hear about it. I didn’t have any idea what was going on. I only knew what I read in the paper the next day. So you move forward and you play each day as it comes. I am glad, and I think as an organization we are happy that Ryan, the union and the Commissioners Office have all put their heads together and made a wise decision for baseball and for us, the organization.”
The Brewers have struggled through injuries and underperformance this season and currently sit in last place in the NL Central at 41-56. Having Braun around for the rest of the year may have resulted in two or three more wins, but it wouldn’t have made them a contender. Now that Braun has accepted the suspension, the Brewers will have some peace of mind headed into 2014. All things considered, Melvin is happy about that.
“Yeah, I think it’s very important. We can move forward starting tonight,” Melvin said. “We’ll have someone else here tomorrow and we’ll try to win as many games as we can. It’s been a disappointing year for Ryan with his injuries, but with this behind us now, I think it gives us a much better focus for the offseason and what we can do.”
Braun, who turns 30 in November, signed an extension with the Brewers in April of 2011 and remains under contract through 2020.
Free agent left-hander Rich Hill is rumored to be entertaining a three-year, $40+ million offer from the Dodgers, reports Peter Gammons. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo corroborated the report, adding that Hill could receive somewhere between $46 and $48 million from his former team.
Hill, 36, pitched to a 2.12 ERA and 3.91 FIP in back-to-back stints with the Athletics and Dodgers in 2016. While a chronic case of blisters on his pitching hand limited the frequency of his starts, he still figures to be one of the most productive and noteworthy starting pitchers on the market this winter.
The Orioles, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Astros have all been mentioned as potential suitors for the left-hander’s services, though Orioles’ GM Dan Duquette said the club has yet to make a play for Hill and ESPN’s Jim Bowden pointed out that the Red Sox are less involved in trade talks than other interested parties.
In light of the Astros’ deal for veteran designated hitter Carlos Beltran on Saturday, the Yankees are thought to be intensifying their pursuit of free agent Edwin Encarnacion, reports Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. The Yankees never made an official offer to Beltran, but remain in need of a DH/first baseman to give them a little more power outside of a Tyler Austin–Greg Bird combo in 2017.
The Red Sox, on the other hand, are reportedly withdrawing their interest when it comes to the Encarnacion sweepstakes. According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, they will look for a hitter to beef up their lineup without taking a “big plunge” on the 34-year-old.
Encarnacion enjoyed another All-Star run with the Blue Jays in 2016, hitting at a .263/.357/.529 clip with 42 homers and a league-leading 127 RBI in 702 PA. He’s expected to command a significant contract in free agency, and agent Paul Kinzer said that a potential deal is unlikely to be finalized before the Winter Meetings as Encarnacion is not close to agreeing to any offer. Interested teams include the Blue Jays and the Astros, though Beltran’s signing appears to have effectively taken Houston out of the running for the slugger.