You know the old line: spring training stats are meaningless. Giants fans had better hope so:
Since signing a two-year, $23 million contract, Lincecum has been raked
for seven runs (four earned) on eight hits in 3 2/3 innings. Both times
Giants manager Bruce Bochy had to remove Lincecum from the game in
Ignore the stats. It’s the removals in mid-inning that are the problem. The routine in spring training is to give the starter a set number of innings. Maybe two at first, then three, and more and more each outing until the team breaks camp. a guy might get shelled one afternoon, but as long as he gets his work in, no one cares all that much. At least not like they’d care in April.
But getting removed in the middle of innings suggests that something’s off. Bruce Bochy admits as much in the article. And though everyone’s saying the right things, this can’t be what anyone wants to see.
Oh, and their would-be fifth starter may be even worse off.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Orioles “are moving aggressively on Manny Machado trade talks and now believe they can trade him by the end of the week.” There are reportedly “strong offers” for Machado from both the White Sox, per Ken Rosenthal, and the Cardinals, per Nightengale. The Giants, Red Sox, Phillies, and Yankees are also reportedly involved in talks, though it does seem unlikely that the O’s would trade Machado to a division rival.
Machado, 25, is a guy around which a team could build a franchise. The Orioles, however, seem resigned to the notion that they will not be able to sign him to a long term contract once he hits free agency a year from now. If they do deal him, it would not be terribly shocking to see the O’s just go all-in with a full rebuild, putting relievers Brad Brach and Zach Britton and outfielder Adam Jones on the market, given that they too can become free agents following the 2018 season.
Machado had a down 2017, hitting .259/.310/.471, but still hit 33 homers and drove in 95 runs. In the two years prior he posted OPSs of .876 and .861. As such, the price for a team to acquire him will be high, even if he’s entering his walk year.