Drew Stubbs went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts yesterday to drop his batting average to .174, but general manager Walt Jocketty said today that the 25-year-old center fielder is in no danger of being sent back to the minors:
He needs to works it out on the major league level. You don’t want him to lose confidence. He does so many other things so well. He needs to be a more selective and patient at the plate.
I agree with Jocketty on all fronts. Stubbs isn’t a great prospect, but because the Reds are unlikely to be much better than .500 this season finding out how he and other young players fit into the team’s long-term plans is key. He’s also 25 already, so another stint at Triple-A doesn’t figure to do much good given that he played 126 games there during the previous two seasons.
Jocketty is also right that Stubbs’ approach at the plate likely needs to change for him to have long-term success. He has 79 strikeouts in 301 plate appearances as a big leaguer after whiffing 141 times per 600 plate appearances in the minors. Obviously many sluggers can get away with that many strikeouts, but Stubbs has hit just 38 homers in 1,860 pro at-bats and whatever value he ultimately has will come primarily from defense, speed, and (hopefully) getting on base.
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.