Cubs manager Lou Piniella, on Alfonso Soriano’s chances of coming back from a knee injury to play again this season:
He’s going to go see his own doctor to get a second opinion on this thing. We’ll probably know something in the next few days. I would categorize it as doubtful that he’d return. Doubtful. I would think that if he has the procedure done before the end of the year it would be just to clean it out a little bit.
The “procedure” is arthroscopic knee surgery, which Soriano will eventually need whether he plays again this season or not.
He’s hit just .241/.303/.423 when healthy enough to be in the lineup, Chicago is 11.5 games back in the NL Central and 8.5 games back in the Wild Card at 71-67, and Soriano is owed $18 million for each of the next five seasons as part of an eight-year, $136 million contract signed in November of 2006.
In other words, getting him back in the lineup this season is the least of the Cubs’ worries at this point. And if you think Cubs fans have been disappointed with Soriano this season, try to imagine what things will be like come 2014, when he’ll be 38 years old and making $18 million. As a wise man once said, “Yeesh.”
Free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum isn’t ready to hang up his cleats just yet. At least, that’s the word from Lincecum’s agent, Rick Thurman, who says the 32-year-old is still “throwing and getting ready for the season” (via Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News).
Lincecum may not be ready to enter retirement, but another quote from Thurman suggests that he’ll be picky about where he pitches next. He doesn’t appear open to pitching overseas, and despite not having a contract for 2017 (or even any serious suitors), the right-hander is set on pitching in the big leagues this year. Whether or not he’s willing to take a bullpen role to do so remains to be seen.
While Baggarly predicts some interest in the veteran righty, there’s not much in Lincecum’s recent history to inspire faith in him as a starter, or even a reliever. He picked up a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Angels following his hip surgery in 2015, and went 2-6 in 2016 with a 9.16 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings. At this point, a minor league contract seems like the surest path back to major league success, though he’s unlikely to find an open spot on the Giants’ or Angels’ rosters anytime soon.
Free agent right-hander Jeff Manship has reportedly signed with the NC Dinos of the Korea Baseball Organization, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The righty was non-tendered by the Indians in December.
Manship, 32, completed his second season with Cleveland in 2016. He delivered a 3.12 ERA, 4.6 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 rate over 43 1/3 innings, a slight decline after posting an 0.92 ERA with the club the year before. During eight years in the major leagues, Manship carries a 4.82 career ERA, 3.6 BB/9 and 6.4 SO/9 in multiple stints with the Twins, Rockies, Phillies and Indians.
The right-hander will be joined by fellow MLB transplants Eric Hacker and Xavier Scruggs, each of whom took one-year deals with the Dinos last month. Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors notes that each KBO team is allowed up to three foreign players, so Manship will round out the trio when he joins the roster. Any salary terms have yet to be disclosed.