Peter Gammons is bored, so he’s proposing expanding the playoffs:
But why not think about having two wild-card teams per league?
For instance, in what might be an aberrational season, the Giants,
Marlins, Braves and Cubs would be within 2½ games of that NL spot right
So MLB can avoid a Thanksgiving clash with the Lions, start
the season half a week earlier; someone much smarter than I points out
that, as opposed to starting on Monday and getting no one at weekday
games on Wednesday and Thursday, they should start on Thursday and play
the first weekend.
Then have the two-out-of-three play-in series on the weekend.
The several paragraphs he spends arguing against such an idea before he gets to the above-quoted bit is much more compelling. This year’s lack of exciting pennant races is an aberration. Expanding the playoffs risks cheapening both the playoffs and the regular season the way the NBA and NHL have done. I’m not a fan of the wild card as it is, but it’s been around long enough to
where I’m resigned to it. Let’s not press our luck any further though,
The most bizarre thing about this column, however, is that a guy like Gammons wrote it. He’s not a total purist or anything, but he’s not the kind of guy who tends to throw out ideas like this. Indeed, this column has all of the earmarks of an editor’s suggestion — “hey Pete! Put something together that argues for an expansion of the playoffs!” — rather than something Gammons actually believes in.
So it’s not only a bad idea, but it’s a bad idea poorly supported in its own right.
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.