Bud Selig announced yesterday that, based on the recommendation of his special committee, the schedules for the 2010 League Championship Serieseseses have been shortened by
eliminating an off-day between Games 4 and 5. Inasmuch as it was a totally superfluous off-day, this is a good thing. Next up, in all likelihood, will be expanding the division series from a best of five to a best of seven affair. That, however, will have to wait until at least the 2012 season, as it has to be the subject of collective bargaining. The players want it, however, so it shouldn’t be a big problem making it happen.
I’m for a longer LDS partially because more baseball is an absolute good, but also because the longer a playoff series is, the more likely that the stronger overall team will advance. As it is now, a team with great depth, especially in the rotation, has a distinct advantage in the regular season. Yet in a short, drawn-out playoff series, they are at a disadvantage as compared to a Spahn-and-Sain-and-three-days-of-rain kind of team, and that kind of bugs me.
Obviously the key to all of this working is the whole schedule, not just one random off-day, being condensed and optimized. The easiest way to do that is to tell FOX or whoever has the broadcast rights that they don’t get to dictate when a playoff series starts. I know TV will cry and moan about this, but we’re all grownups. We can handle it.
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.