Earlier in the week, I highlighted the Mets’ year-long power outage.
Nothing much has changed since then, as they are still dead-last in
home runs with 81 (did you know the Yankees have 220? Yikes.) and Gary
Sheffield still leads the team with 10 home runs despite not actually
appearing in a game since August 28.
While noting the remarkable lack of
punch in the Mets’ lineup on Monday, it got me to thinking of who had
the least home runs in a season, but still lead their team in home
runs. I started on Baseball Reference, but found that exercise pretty
tedious, so I asked for the help of our friends at Baseball Prospectus, and here’s what they found:
Modern Era, 1900-2008
Three way tie with 1 HR as the maximum:
1918 Senators – Walter Johnson, Joe Judge, Howie Shanks & Nick Altrock – 1
1908 White Sox – Ed Walsh, Fielder Jones & Frank Isbell – 1
1909 White Sox – Dave Altizer, Ed Hahn, Gavvy Cravath & Patsy Dougherty – 1
Retrosheet Era, 1954-2008
1981 Twins – Roy Smalley – 7
1981 Indians – Bo Diaz – 7
Wild Card Era, 1995-2008
1995 Phillies – Mark Whiten, Gregg Jefferies & Charlie Hayes – 11
1995 Expos – Moises Alou, Tony Tarasco & Sean Berry – 14
2008 Nationals – Ryan Zimmerman & Lastings Milledge – 14
2008 Nationals – Zimmerman & Milledge – 14
2001 Orioles – Chris Richard & Jay Gibbons – 15
2008 Giants – Bengie Molina – 16
And so, if things stay the same, the
Mets will have the lowest team leader in home runs since Bo Diaz and
Roy Smalley led their respective clubs with seven home runs in 1981.
Right now the Mets have 21 games left with Sheffield at 10, Daniel
Murphy at nine, and Carlos Beltran and David Wright with eight. There
might be a reason to tune into the Mets after all, even if they are
threatening 90 losses for the first time since 2004.
Again, thanks to Eric Seidman, Will Carroll and our friends at Baseball Prospectus. Please pay them a visit.
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.