Pretty much backing up Jon Heyman’s report from earlier this afternoon, major league sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com that the Phillies are interested in re-acquiring Cliff Lee.
The Phillies obviously have other needs to fill after the loss of Chase Utley and lingering concerns about Placido Polanco’s elbow — and they have shown interest in Miguel Tejada and Ty Wigginton, according to Rosenthal — but they also want to upgrade their rotation, with a focus on “top-of-the-rotation types rather than fourth and fifth starters.”
Lee certainly fits that description, and according to one major league source, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. “will not cut off his nose to spite his face” by refusing to re-acquire the left-hander. In other words, he won’t let his pride stand in the way.
Ultimately, like with most teams in talks with the Mariners, it will come down to how much Lee will cost in the form of prospects. In turn, sources tell Rosenthal that the Phillies view themselves as “a longshot.” Rosenthal writes that they would likely have to give up top prospect Domonic Brown in order to re-acquire Lee, something they are understandably reluctant to do.
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.