Marlins demote struggling starter Chris Volstad to Triple-A

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Chris Volstad went 8-4 with a 2.83 ERA through his first 20 starts after debuting as a 21-year-old in mid-2008, but he’s just 11-21 with a 5.36 ERA in 41 starts since then and today the Marlins demoted him back to Triple-A.
What’s interesting about Volstad’s fall from grace is that the underlying numbers within his performance really haven’t changed that much. His strikeout rate, walk rate, and ground-ball percentage have more or less remained constant each season and his yearly Expected Fielding Independent Pitching (xFIP) figures are 4.59, 4.32, and 4.43.
The big differences have been more balls in play falling for hits, fewer runners being stranded on base, and teams running at will on him. Opponents going 20-for-21 stealing bases in just 98 innings this season is certainly on Volstad, but the other stuff is mostly some combination of luck, defense, and the life of a pitch-to-contact ground-ball starter.
His career xFIP is 4.43 and his career ERA is 4.42, so the secondary numbers tell a very accurate story as long as you’re willing to focus on the big picture. Volstad wasn’t as good as he looked right away and isn’t as bad as he’s looked recently, and as a 23-year-old starter with a 4.43 ERA in 338 career innings–including a decent enough 4.45 mark this season–you’d think the Marlins would have a little more patience.

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.