You may recall that Orioles manager Buck Showalter made some pointed comments to USA Today last month about how the Yankees would benefit from Alex Rodriguez being suspended. For those unfamiliar, he said the following:
“If Bud lets them get away with that, they’re under the luxury tax. If they can reset, they can spend again, and I guarantee you in two years, Matt Wieters is in New York.”
While Showalter later said that he thought he was speaking off the record, MLB wasn’t too happy about it. According to David Waldstein of the New York Times, MLB executive vice president Rob Manfred placed a call to Orioles VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette to discuss the matter.
Manfred told him that the timing of Showalter’s comments, with the suspensions only days away, were not helpful and that there were many factors in play beyond what Showalter was aware of. He also wanted to make it clear that the issue was about Rodriguez, not a matter of letting the Yankees get away with anything.
Upon hearing about Manfred’s call, Showalter reached out to MLB commissioner Bud Selig to clear the air. The two “were said to have had a productive conversation.”
MLB obviously doesn’t want to give the impression that they are working to give the Yankees any sort of advantage, so it’s not surprising that they were peeved with the comments. But Showalter’s point remains relevant. If A-Rod’s suspension sticks, it will be a boon to the Yankees’ luxury tax situation.
Free agent closer Mark Melancon is entertaining at least two offers in the four-year, $60+ million ballpark, reports FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. The teams thought to be in the running are the Giants and Nationals, with the Giants having a slight edge due to their strong interest in him last summer (per ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick).
Crasnick also said that while the Giants are keeping tabs on the top three free agent closers this winter, the other two being Kenley Jansen and Aroldis Chapman, they’re leaning toward Melancon as a (slightly) more affordable option in the ‘pen. It’s worth noting that Melancon would not cost the Giants a draft pick if they decided to sign him.
Melancon had an outstanding season in 2016, nearly reaching career-best numbers with a 1.64 ERA, 2.42 FIP and 5.42 K/BB rate in 71 1/3 innings split between the Pirates and Nationals’ bullpens. The veteran right-hander earned his third career All-Star distinction after stifling opposing hitters with a 1.23 ERA and 7.9 K/9 rate in the first half, and went on to appear in his fourth consecutive playoff run.
Despite the Giants’ apparent lead in the bidding for Melancon, Rosenthal mentioned a third mystery team who might throw their hat in the ring as well. No clubs have been name-dropped as of yet.
Former Tigers infielder Casey McGehee has reportedly signed a one-year deal with the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
It’s the fourth move the corner infielder has made in the last two seasons after seeing short-term stints with the Marlins, Giants and Tigers. He signed a minor league deal with the Tigers prior to the 2016 season, providing the club with some infield depth behind 24-year-old Nick Castellanos. When Castellanos hit the disabled list in August with a broken hand, McGehee was recalled from Triple-A Toledo for a 30-game stint and slashed .228/.260/.239 with one extra-base hit in 96 PA. His career batting line (.258/.317/.384 over eight seasons) isn’t too shabby, but his age and a long history of knee injuries puts a damper on his potential.
McGehee last appeared in the NPB circuit in 2013, when he signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. He spent the bulk of his season at the hot corner, batting an impressive .292/.396/.515 with 28 homers in 590 PA and appearing in the Eagles’ first and only championship run to date.
The deal comes with a club option for 2018, Rosenthal reports, though no figure has been specified.