Aramis Ramirez AP

The Brewers are off to their best start since 1987

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Get a load of this Brew Crew.

Behind seven strong innings from right-hander Wily Peralta and home runs from Aramis Ramirez and Mark Reynolds, the Brewers topped the Pirates 4-2 last night at Miller Park in Milwaukee. They have now won seven straight games and sit at 8-2 on the young season, giving them the best record in the majors. This is their best start since they began the 1987 season at 13-0.

The Brewers have simply been hitting on all cylinders thus far. While they have the third-fewest walks in the majors, they rank third in batting average and slugging percentage and fifth in OPS thanks to hot starts from the likes of Ramirez, Carlos Gomez, and Jonathan Lucroy. The pitching has been even better, putting up a major league best 1.86 ERA. Their starters have gone at least six innings in seven out of 10 games, with Yovani Gallardo showing signs of a rebound with 12 2/3 scoreless innings to begin the year. Their relievers, highlighted by the trio of Francisco Rodriguez, Will Smith, and Tyler Thornburg, have allowed just four runs in 29 2/3 innings for a 0.91 ERA.

There are obviously reasons to be skeptical here, especially with the questions surrounding Ryan Braun’s thumb and the injury histories of Ramirez and Matt Garza, but this team could surprise if things break right. The Cardinals deserve to be considered the favorites in the National League Central, but the Wild Card race has the potential to be wide open this year.

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.