It happens almost every year: the Giants, for reasons clear only to them, sign some 30 year-old (or older) hitter to a silly contract based on a career year and some pie-in-the-sky sense that he’ll do it again. The candidate for 2010: Juan Uribe:
There exists a player who sounds as though he wants to be a Giant next
year. This year, he is hitting .299 in 378 at-bats. Project his numbers
over 500 at-bats and he would have 20 homers and 70 RBIs.
His on-base-plus-slugging percentage (OPS) as an everyday player since
Aug. 1 is 1.011. To put that in context, the only National Leaguers
over 1.000 for the entire season are Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder.
He is a favorite among fans and teammates.
I’ll pass on the Pujols/Fielder comparison because I’m trying to give up my ducks-in-a-barrel addiction and simply note that Uribe is putting up numbers like nothing he’s done in his nine seasons in Major League Baseball. Seriously, his OBP over the past four seasons has been .296, .284, .257, and .301. His lifetime OBP is .299. By any measure, by any way you slice and dice it, his current season is the very definition of a fluke. He has a touch of pop in his bat and can play two or three positions so he has some use as a utility guy, but he’s not the sort of dude you make a point of going after in the offseason.
Like Uribe, Giant GM Brian Sabean’s contract is up after the season. The fact that a 30 year-old fluke is sitting out there, just waiting to be given a $5M+ salary by Sabes is reason enough to find a new general manager.
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.