As evidenced by the deconstruction of the limping and wounded New York Yankees last night, the Tampa Bay Rays have taken their place as the new beasts of the AL East. And, even though the delivery was muddled and aggravating, Chris Berman and Rick Sutcliffe’s multiple mentions of the Rays’ arrival as the new class of baseball and their all-around excellence last night were well-taken.
Yahoo!’s Jeff Passan has a much more lucid take on the same subject this morning, and Joe Maddon had something interesting to say about the well-rounded nature of his Rays’ squad:
“It’s more of the liberal arts form of playing baseball,” Maddon said.
“It’s not just about power or just about speed. You really want to be
able to do all those different things. I want us to be able to play
every component of the game well. That’s what we preach.”
Liberal arts baseball. As a liberal arts undergard I like it! Beats those “Renaissance man” cliches anyway. It’s something all of us liberal arts people can all be proud of.
That is, at least until the Rays wake up one day, realize that they have no marketable skills and apply to law school.
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.