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The Marlins are upset about the Red Sox’s travel roster

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According to Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel, the Marlins will be contacting the league office after the Red Sox declined to bring any of their established regulars to Palm Beach for Thursday’s spring training game.

While teams are supposed to bring at least four “regulars” to road spring games, the rule has always been flouted and seemingly more so than ever these last couple of years. That’s especially true during the first couple of weeks of spring games, when many regulars play just every other day anyway.

The Red Sox on Thursday started just one projected regular: rookie outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. In fact, he was the only guy in the lineup who figures to make the team at all. 2013 backups Ryan Lavarnway and Brandon Snyder were present, but they’re unlikely to be on this year’s Opening Day roster. The starting pitcher was Allen Webster, who is probably the team’s eighth starter in reality.

It’s hard to see how the Marlins have much of a leg to stand on here, though, if they do contact the league office. They’ve thus far played four road games, but the first of those was in their home park (they share Roger Dean Stadium with the Cardinals). In their three actual road games, they’ve brought along four starters just once:

March 1: Christian Yelich, Casey McGehee
March 2: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Marcell Ozuna
March 5: Rafael Furcal, Marcell Ozuna, Garrett Jones, Casey McGehee

Their one draw, Giancarlo Stanton, has played in all four home games this month, but he hasn’t made any trips.

The truth is that many teams are going this route more and more frequently, and it’s not a bad thing if the Marlins and some other clubs do raise a stink about it and maybe force MLB to take some action. Spring games might be a whole lot cheaper than the regular-season contests, but they’re still expensive enough that fans should have some expectation of seeing players they’ve heard of. If the league started fining teams that didn’t bring a few regulars for its trip, the practice would likely end in a hurry.

UPDATE: FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal writes that the Red Sox could face a possible fine for not bringing enough regulars to the game.  However, such a punishment would not be announced.

Dodgers sign Rich Hill to a three-year, $48 million deal

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 18:  Rich Hill #44 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches in the first inning against the Chicago Cubs in game three of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on October 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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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: Giants agree to a deal with Mark Melancon

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 10:  Mark Melancon #43 of the Washington Nationals reacts after the final out as the Nationals defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-3 in game three of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 10, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
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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 PMKen 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.