UPDATE: Beltran has been placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list, in addition to having facial fractures. To replace him on the roster the Yankees have called Yangervis Solarte back up from Triple-A, where he was demoted last week following a brutal prolonged slump.
Carlos Beltran was scratched from the Yankees’ lineup last night when a ball he hit during batting practice bounced off the screen protecting the pitcher and struck his eye. And now he’s been diagnosed with two facial fractures, but they’ve been classified as “small” and the Yankees think he’ll avoid the disabled list.
He did, however, admit to having “a headache for the whole day” and given the various concussion-related protocols in place it’s possible he’ll need to sit out more than just a game or two.
The injury just adds to what has been a miserable first season with the Yankees for Beltran, who’s struggled offensively and been unable to play defensively because of elbow and knee problems.
He’s making $15 million this season with another $15 million due in both 2015 and 2016, but the 37-year-old has hit just .216 with nine homers and a .671 OPS in 61 games. Certainly some decline was expected at Beltran’s age, but he hit .296 with 24 homers and an .830 OPS for the Cardinals last season and has posted an OPS above .800 in seven of the past eight years.
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.