The Marlins are interested in free agent relievers Brad Ziegler and Koji Uehara as fallback options if they’re unable to reel in Kenley Jansen or Aroldis Chapman, according to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. Miami could sign both Ziegler and Uehara if it loses out on Jansen and Chapman, per Frisaro (Twitter links). Ziegler and Uehara each carry strong track records, though the former is 37 and the latter will turn 42 in April. The pair finished last season in Boston, where Uehara has pitched since 2013. In other Marlins-related bullpen news, the club is “highly unlikely” to re-sign left-hander Mike Dunn, but it continues “monitoring his status,” tweets Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. More bullpen-related rumors: The Nationals offered “at least $10MM less” than the Giants’ winning four-year, $62MM bid for closer Mark Melancon, the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner told MLB Network Radio on Monday (Twitter link). The Tigers are gauging interest in southpaw setup man Justin Wilson and right-handed reliever Shane Greene, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter link). This is the second time Wilson’s name has hit the rumor mill since last week. The 29-year-old impressed with a 9.97 K/9, 2.61 BB/9 and 54.6 ground-ball rate in 58 2/3 innings last season.
A uniform partnership between Major League Baseball, Under Armour and Fanatics was consummated in All-Star fashion on Monday, with several of the game’s biggest stars gathering to celebrate a landmark deal that will — literally — change the look of the modern-day ballplayer.
White Sox ace Chris Sale may soon be donning a Nationals uniform, as Washington appears to have moved into the catbird seat to pull off a blockbuster deal for the star southpaw. Offering a loaded package of prospects to meet Chicago’s high asking price, the Nationals now have a “legitimate chance” of acquiring Sale and are haggling over the final pieces of a trade, according to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal.
Catch up on all the news from the Winter Meetings on MLB Network, presented by WBC. Live coverage picks back up at 9 a.m. ET with Hot Stove.
2:52pm: The Giants have announced the signing of Melancon, pending a physical, as John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. 12:48pm: Melancon’s deal is for exactly $62MM over four years, tweets Rosenthal. 11:57am: Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports (on Twitter) that it’s a four-year deal in the $62MM range for Melancon. That contract shatters the previous record by $12MM, though it of course isn’t likely to stand all that long given the other names available in free agency this winter. 11:42am: Melancon has agreed to terms with the Giants, and the deal will be finalized once he passes a physical, reports ESPN’s Buster Olney (on Twitter). 10:45am: The Giants are close to a deal with free agent closer Mark Melancon, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter)
Free agent left-hander Aroldis Chapman is seeking a six-year contract, he tells ESPN’s Marly Rivera. In speaking with Rivera, the flamethrowing southpaw also dispelled any notion that he has ever demanded a $100MM figure when speaking to another club. Said Chapman: “The only thing I have expressed is that I would like a six-year contract. I know that doesn’t mean that I will get it, but that’s what I would like to sign. There are rumors out there that I requested $100 million and that’s not true at all. I believe he who deserves something, does not need to demand it.” Earlier today, right-hander Mark Melancon shattered Jonathan Papelbon’s previous record reliever contract ($50MM) when he reportedly agreed to a four-year, $62MM deal with the Giants. Chapman and fellow free agent Kenley Jansen are both widely expected to clear the Melancon figure by an even larger margin than Melancon cleared Papelbon, however. A six-year deal for Chapman doesn’t necessarily seem likely, but given widespread expectations that he’ll land a five-year deal, the possibility of a team going to six years is present
12:39pm: The Rangers have been in “frequent” contact with the Pirates about McCutchen, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. A deal between the two sides is possible but not close at this time, he adds. Heyman adds that he’s heard it’s “not likely” that the Rangers would actually meet the Pirates’ asking price, though. Additionally, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi tweeted earlier today that the Dodgers have made a recent inquiry on McCutchen as well. 11:10am: There’s a “mystery team” pursuing Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). Pittsburgh is said to be looking for a taker for its longtime star. To this point, the Nationals have been tied most closely to the former MVP center fielder
11:57am: Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports (on Twitter) that it’s a four-year deal in the $62MM range for Melancon. That contract shatters the previous record by $12MM, though it of course isn’t likely to stand all that long given the other names available in free agency this winter. 11:42am: Melancon has agreed to terms with the Giants, and the deal will be finalized once he passes a physical, reports ESPN’s Buster Olney (on Twitter). 10:45am: The Giants are close to a deal with free agent closer Mark Melancon, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area tweeted recently that there was a belief in the organization had a strong belief that a deal would get done, and Les Shapiro of Mile High Radio first tweeted that Melancon was wrapping up negotiations with San Francisco
The Marlins have been somewhat surprisingly tied to names like Kenley Jansen and Aroldis Chapman, and Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports that the Marlins’ pursuit of the market’s top closers is coming at the urge of owner Jeffrey Loria. Spencer notes that signing any of the “big three” available closers would push Miami well past a $100MM payroll for just the second time in franchise history, but Loria is seemingly comfortable with that fact. According to Spencer, the Marlins’ payroll could rise as high as $115MM next year. Right-hander Mark Melancon is reportedly nearing a deal with the Giants, which would leave Jansen and Chapman as the top two potential targets for Miami. FOX’s Ken Rosenthal reported last night that the Marlins were willing to offer upward of $80MM to Jansen despite the qualifying offer that is attached to his name. And, earlier this morning, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported that Loria “loves” Chapman and has been speaking directly to the agents for the top relievers himself thus far. Either Jansen or Chapman would be a massive boost to Miami’s relief corps and would give the team a potentially dominant late-inning trio, as right-handers A.J. Ramos and Kyle Barraclough both have gaudy strikeout numbers. It’s been rumored that the Marlins could field offers for Ramos this winter, though, so there’s obviously some degree of fluidity in the organization’s plans to solidify its pitching staff. Also of note for Marlins fans, FanRag’s Jon Heyman reports (via Twitter) that they’re interested in veteran A.J
The Giants are close to a deal with free agent closer Mark Melancon, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area tweeted recently that there was a belief in the organization had a strong belief that a deal would get done, and Les Shapiro of Mile High Radio first tweeted that Melancon was wrapping up negotiations with San Francisco. Melancon is represented by ISE Baseball. [Related: Mark Melancon Free Agent Profile] San Francisco made a run at Melancon prior to the non-waiver trade deadline this summer but came up short to the Nationals, who acquired him for lefties Felipe Rivero and Taylor Hearn. Bullpen struggles wound up being a defining characteristic for the Giants down the stretch, as Santiago Casilla in particular struggled late in the year and lost his hold on closer’s duties. Giants general manager Bobby Evans has implied publicly in the past that perhaps he should’ve made a stronger play to get Melancon into the organization, and it appears now that the Giants made the strongest push of any team to land the highly coveted Melancon in free agency. There are no numbers attached to reports on him just yet, but Melancon reportedly has received four-year offers worth more than $60MM, which would eclipse Jonathan Papelbon’s four-year, $50MM mark and set a new record for a relief pitcher. The 31-year-old Melancon (32 in March) has been an All Star in three of the past four seasons and has worked to a cumulative ERA of 1.80 across 290 innings in that time (plus 10 innings in the postseason). He doesn’t flash the extreme velocity and/or strikeout rates as free agent counterparts Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen, but Melancon misses bats at a slightly above-average rate and also boasts tremendous control and ground-ball tendencies.