Dirk Hayhurst does what he does best today, and that’s to tell us how the vast majority of minor leaguers live. As in: on a shoestring, with a long, long road between where they are on draft day and when they get to the big leagues. If they get to the big leagues.
Today it’s the dos and don’ts for the new draftee. As in: don’t buy a fancy car with your signing bonus, don’t go around talking about your college days, make sure you get an agent and things like that. The agent bit is one a lot of people aren’t aware of. We all think of them as taking a cut of a big league contract, but most of the time these guys spend all of their time more or less playing nurse maid to minor leaguers. As Hayhurst explains:
Yes, they’ll take their cut if you sign a big contract, but most of the time they’ll be sending you new spikes, fresh bats, new sports underwear, and even a pair of trendy sunglasses if you can make a strong enough argument for why you need them. By the time they get their percent of you (if they get their percent of you) it will be like paying them back, not letting them suck you dry.
I once went to an evening college football game with a fairly well-known agent who has big time clients. He spent most of the second half of the game texting various minor leaguers in his stable, seeing how their games went, how they were doing that day, did they need any equipment, etc. etc. This wasn’t altruism — he’s hoping that if he takes care of these guys that they’ll stick with him if and when they sign that $75 million deal — but make no mistake, it’s work.
Anyway, this is a good piece from Hayhurst. And yes, it’s in slide show format, but don’t let that deter you. The explanations under each slide are lengthy and substantive so it’s not like it’s mere click bait. It’s quite interesting and informative, actually.
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.