Relief pitchers are signing lucrative contracts left and right this offseason. Earlier in the week, Kenley Jansen became the latest one to land a huge deal.
On Monday, Jansen agreed to a five-year, $80 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The 29-year-old closing pitcher will now remain with the team that he has spent the past seven seasons with.
Back in November, Jansen rejected the Dodgers’ one-year, $17.2 million qualifying offer. He wanted to test the free agent market and see if he could land a lucrative, long-term contract. The Dodgers clearly did not want Jansen to slip away, so they gave him what he wanted.
Jansen’s value to the Dodgers cannot be understated. This past season, he saved a career-high 47 games while posting an ERA of 1.83. He also recorded 104 strikeouts over the course of the year. Jansen’s 47 saves tied Mark Melancon for second-most in the National League during the 2016 season. Only Jeurys Familia of the New York Mets had more. Familia saved 51 games.
If the Dodgers had decided to let Jansen walk away, another team would have almost certainly jumped at the opportunity to sign him. He was reportedly being pursued by the Miami Marlins and Washington Nationals, as well as the Dodgers. Relief pitchers have been getting paid a lot of money this offseason, especially closers. A few weeks ago, Melancon signed a four-year, $62 million contract with the San Francisco Giants. Like Jansen, Melancon is also coming off a great season. This combined with the fact that the Giants desperately needed a closer helped Melancon land a large deal. The Nationals were also apparently attempting to sign him, but were unsuccessful in their efforts.
Just last week, Aroldis Chapman reportedly agreed to a five-year, $86 million deal with the New York Yankees. Back in July, the Yankees traded Chapman to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for reliever Adam Warren and minor league prospects Gleyber Torres, Billy McKinney and Rashad Crawford. He will now be their closer once again. Chapman’s new contract is worth slightly more than Jansen’s, but is for the same amount of years.
Bret Cecil is another reliever that cashed in during this offseason. The former Toronto Blue Jay agreed to a four-year, $30.5 million deal with the St. Louis Cardinals back in November. Although he is not a closer, Cecil is a left-handed pitcher. Teams like to have a dependable lefty in the bullpen.
Dodgers President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman made a smart decision in re-signing Jansen. Closers who are consistent from year to year are rare nowadays. Although the move did cost the team a lot of money, it will definitely pay off in the long run.
D’Backs Slugger JD Martinez Goes Deep Four Times Against Dodgers
Last night was a historic one in LA to say the least, as Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder JD Martinez went deep four times in his team’s 13-0 crushing of the Dodgers.
Arizona’s win marked their 11th in a row. Only the Cleveland Indians (12, active) have a longer winning streak in baseball this season.
Martinez’s 4 for 5, 6 RBI performance marked the 18th four-home run game in Major League history, 16th in the modern era (since 1900), and second this year (Scooter Gennett, June 6).
This is the second time that MLB has seen multiple four-home run games in a season. Mike Cameron and Shawn Green accomplished the rare feat in 2002.
Each home run for Martinez came in consecutive at-bats off a different pitcher. He took starter Rich Hill deep for a two-run shot in the fourth, hit solo dingers in the seventh and eighth off Pedro Baez and Josh Fields, respectively, and finished the feat with a two-run blast off Wilmer Font in the ninth.
Take a look at all four:
Two solo dingers sandwiched between two two-run dingers. Not too shabby!
Here are some notable facts about Martinez’s monster game, per ESPN Stats & Info:
The D’Backs are also now the only franchise in MLB with a perfect game, 20-strikeout game, and four-home run game. The first two are courtesy of a man named Randy Johnson—you may have heard of him.
Martinez, 30, was acquired by the D’Backs from the Detroit Tigers on July 18. In 40 games with Arizona, he’s hitting .257/.337/.688 with 18 homers and 40 RBIs. Overall on the year, he carries a .285/.367/.645 slash line with 34 homers and 79 RBIs.
With a record of 80-58, Arizona leads their division rival Colorado Rockies by 6.5 games for the top spot in the NL Wild Card race.
Rich Hill Loses No-Hit Bid In The 10th Inning On A Walk-Off Home Run
Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Rich Hill lost a no-hitter in the most painful way possible on Wednesday night in Pittsburgh. The first hit he allowed was a walk-off home run in the tenth inning.
Hill was on the mound for the Dodgers as they faced the Pittsburgh Pirates in what was the third game of their four-game series. Pirates starter Trevor Williams went toe-to-toe with Hill for the first eight innings. Going into the ninth inning, neither pitcher had given up a run. The major difference between the two was that Hill had yet to allow a baserunner.
The perfect game almost ended in the bottom of the eighth inning when Pirates first baseman Josh Bell hit a hard line drive toward right field. Before it had the chance to land in the outfield for a base hit however, Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley made an unbelievable full-extension catch.
Unfortunately, the Dodgers were unable to give Hill any run support. Despite having a perfect game heading into the ninth inning, he did not have a lead to protect. Hill had 10 strikeouts through eight innings of work. The first batter of the bottom of the ninth inning was Jordy Mercer, and he hit a ground ball toward third base that was bobbled by Logan Forsythe. This untimely error ended Hill’s chances of achieving one of the rarest feats in baseball.
Luckily, Hill retired the next three batters and got out of the ninth inning without allowing a hit. The Dodgers could not get anything going in the top of the tenth inning, so the game remained scoreless. With Hill’s no-hitter still intact, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts did not hesitate to send him back out to the mound. Josh Harrison led off the bottom of the tenth inning. With one swing, he was able to give the Pirates their first hit of the game, as well as their first run. Harrison hit a ball to deep left field that just ended up making it over fence. Dodgers left fielder Curtis Granderson attempted to make a leaping grab and rob Harrison, but he came up short.
Hill lost his no-hitter in one of the most painful ways possible. He had a no-hitter going through the first nine innings, but had to keep pitching because his team could not give him any run support. As per ESPN Stats & Info, Hill is the first MLB pitcher in the last 100 seasons to go at least nine innings and allow one or fewer hits, not give up a walk, and still get a loss.
Rich Hill is the first pitcher in the last 100 seasons to throw at least 9 innings, allow 1 or fewer hits with no walks, and get a loss.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 24, 2017
It is a shame that Hill took a loss after pitching as well as he did. This loss probably will not affect the Dodgers that much in the long run, as they are 89-36 on the season and have a 21-game lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks for first place in the NL West. Hill is the one who will be most impacted by the result of the game, as he will most likely never come this close to a no-hitter ever again. For Hill, this game will always be considered the one that could have been.
Dodgers Land Yu Darvish From Rangers
The Los Angeles Dodgers have landed Texas Rangers starting pitcher Yu Darvish, a move that will bolster the Dodgers rotation and provide Darvish a much-needed change of scenery.
It was not immediately known what the Rangers would receive in return for Darvish.
In addition to Darvish, the Dodgers added depth to their bullpen by working out deals for Tony Cingrani and Tony Watson from Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.
The Darvish deal was first reported by Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal and later confirmed by ESPN.
Darvish is 6-9 with a 4.01 ERA his season, his worst in five years in the majors.
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