Winter meetings heat up: Melancon to Giants, Hill to Dodgers

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OXON HILL, Md. (AP) — Albeit too late to save them this year, the San Francisco Giants got their closer.

All-Star righty Mark Melancon and the Giants reached agreement on a $62 million, four-year contract Monday. As baseball's winter meetings heated up, lefty Rich Hill re-signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers for $48 million over three years.

Chris Sale was still with the White Sox, for now. But the Washington Nationals were trying to put together a deal for the lefty ace.

Nothing yet on the other top trade targets — Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen and possibly two Detroit fixtures, slugger Miguel Cabrera and pitcher Justin Verlander.

A couple smaller deals also developed as teams met inside a hotel on the banks of the Potomac River outside Washington. The Toronto Blue Jays signed versatile Steve Pearce and Philadelphia added reliever Joaquin Benoit.

And the New York Yankees confirmed they're trying to boost their bullpen with major free-agent talent.

"We have been pursuing Aroldis Chapman. We also have been talking to Kenley Jansen. We also had talked with Melancon," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said.

Jose Reyes, meanwhile, might be changing positions, rather than teams. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said the star infielder would get his first look at the outfield in spring training.

And the Red Sox said they might fill their designated hitter spot — left vacant by the retiring David Ortiz — with a DH-by-committee. That would still leave room, of course, for them to sign slugger Edwin Encarnacion.

Boston did make a move with manager John Farrell, picking up his contract option through the 2018 season.

Melancon tweeted that he was excited to be joining the Giants. They certainly were thrilled to get him, pending a physical, giving the 31-year-old the richest deal ever for a reliever. Because he was traded during the season, from Pittsburgh to Washington, the Giants don't lose their first-round draft pick next June as compensation.

The Giants' bullpen was a troublespot all year, blowing 32 saves. Their woes peaked in their final loss, to the Cubs in Game 4 of the NL playoffs, when Chicago scored four runs in the ninth inning against five relievers.

Melancon posted a combined 47 saves and a 1.64 ERA last season, a year after leading the majors with 51 saves for the Pirates.

The 36-year-old Hill found stability, and a lot more in Los Angeles. He was on the scrap heap in 2015, pitching in independent ball for the Long Island Ducks, before resurrecting his career.

"I think it's something that has been an incredible journey to get to this point, but never did I ever think that I would pack it in," he said.

Hill went a combined 12-5 with a 2.12 ERA in 20 starts for the Dodgers and Oakland last season.

Not everyone was in the holiday shopping spirit. Instead of hoping for hitters, pitchers or fielders, Kansas City manager Ned Yost was thinking about his field back home in Georgia.

"I got to refill the feeders at the farm. Planted some grass, finally got some rain, so my wish is that it comes up," he said.

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