When the Dodgers selected Texas high school pitcher and LSU-bound quarterback recruit Zach Lee with the 28th overall pick Monday night there was immediate speculation that they did so because he’s considered unsignable.
With owner Frank McCourt going through an ugly divorce the idea is that the Dodgers could take a compensation pick for failing to sign Lee and delay the investment of first-round money until next year.
Assistant general manager and draft boss Logan White denied those claims, saying the Dodgers have every intention of making a legitimate effort to sign Lee, but yesterday LSU football coach Les Miles issued a statement saying Lee has zero intention of signing:
Zach wants to come to LSU, get a degree and play football and baseball for the Tigers. I met with Zach and his parents today, and I think that they are looking at LSU as a great opportunity both academically and athletically. Zach is an outstanding student, and he’s excited about the college experience.
Miles added that Lee has enrolled in summer school, which would certainly seem odd for someone planning to sign for millions of dollars and begin playing pro baseball soon. It’s tough to blame White and the Dodgers for not fessing up to their plans, because surely MLB would frown on such behavior being laid out publicly, but for now at least what’s going on seems pretty clear.
Lee will play football (and baseball) at LSU, the Dodgers will save a couple million bucks this year, and they’ll get the No. 29 overall pick in next June’s draft as compensation for failing to sign a guy who everyone knew wasn’t going to sign.
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.