Jed Hoyer is bargain-hunting

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Thumbnail image for jed hoyer padres.jpgAccording to Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Padres have between $5 million-8 million left to spend on free agents this winter.
New general manager Jed Hoyer has spent most of his first offseason on
the sidelines, but he did manage to surprise many around baseball
by inking Kevin Correia to a new contract last month.



While the funds available won’t go far, Center expects to club to be active in the following areas:



Center field: Namely, a righty bat
to balance Tony Gwynn, who is a stretch as anything beyond a part-time outfielder. Reed
Johnson is a possibility there, but he also interests the Yankees as a
reserve.




Catcher: With Henry Blanco leaving
via free agency, the team seeks a veteran catcher to mentor 26-year-old
Nick Hundley. Center sees former Padre and San Diego County resident
Brad Ausmus as a natural fit, though the Padres have yet to contact him.




Middle infield: Center expects Hoyer
to find a veteran defensive specialist as rosters take shape around
baseball during spring training.




Pitching: With a young staff, the Padres could use a veteran presence.



With the odds of an offseason trade
in doubt, the roster likely won’t look much different than what the
club had at the end of the 2009 season. Rumors about an Adrian Gonzalez
trade have been based more on hype than reality and the market for Kevin
Kouzmanoff has taken a hit with several teams filling their
need at the hot corner and Adrian Beltre and Miguel Tejada still
available as a free agents. It all adds up to a pretty underwhelming offseason, but the Padres are hoping to progress from a 37-25 finish to their 2009 campaign.

Report: Tim Lincecum is not ready for retirement

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 29:  Tim Lincecum #55 of the Los Angeles Angels during the second inning of the game against the Boston Red Sox at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 29, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
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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.

Report: Jeff Manship signs with NC Dinos

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 01:  Jeff Manship #53 of the Cleveland Indians throws a pitch during the sixth inning against the Chicago Cubs in Game Six of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 1, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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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.