The Pirates need a mercy rule for Brewers games

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Here are the scores of the last four Brewers-Pirates games. The Brewers have the big number in each of these, of course:

8-1
8-0
20-0
17-3.

Not that the Brewers are good. After all, in between game three and four of that list they lost three in a row to the Cubs, being outscored 25-4 in the process.  This is just a supernaturally-bad Pirates team, it seems.

Remember: this is the Pirates team which gave up 13 runs to the Dbacks in a single inning a couple of weeks ago. It’s a Pirates team that has been outscored 147-65, which has them comfortably on pace for the worst run-differential in baseball history. And it’s a mark they can attain even if they suddenly improve.

It’s hard to point to one single thing that is wrong with this team when so much is wrong, but I suppose starting pitching is the easiest target. Everyone is getting shelled and no one is even eating innings and saving the pen for another day in the process.

I figured the Pirates would be a bad team this year, but I didn’t figure they’d be this bad.  And while the crazy lopsided losses will cease sometime soon simply because such things aren’t sustainable, I see no way the Pirates can really improve themselves at this moment.

On the bright side, now even more great seats will be available at one of the best parks in baseball.  Sure, maybe you don’t want to pay your good money to watch the Pirates, but they gotta play a major league team, and half of a good performance is better than nothing.

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.