Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez had been out of the lineup for the first three games of August due to a nagging finger injury, but was back in today as his team wrapped up their weekend set in Pittsburgh against the Pirates. He went 1-for-4 with a single, but reaggravated the injury in his final at-bat, grounding out weakly to Pedro Alvarez at third base.
Troy Renck of the Denver Post is reporting that Gonzalez may wind up on the disabled list:
“I don’t want to go on the DL. But I can’t swing. I am just a slap hitter, that’s all I can do right now,” said Gonzalez after the Rockies’ 5-1 loss to the Pirates. “It’s right back to where it was (during the Atlanta series).”
Gonzalez suffered the injury in the ninth inning on July 7 against the Diamondbacks. He fouled off the first pitch he saw from reliever Josh Collmenter. He grimaced as he recoiled from the swing and grabbed at his hand. He couldn’t finish the at-bat, so manager Walt Weiss pinch-hit for him with Todd Helton. In the time since, Gonzalez has hit .294, but with dramatically reduced power, hitting just one double and two home runs in 58 trips to the plate.
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.