Cliff Lee says rumored affinity for Yankees is "a lie"

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Take one listen to the Colin Cowherd radio program — “The Herd,” I believe it’s called — and it’s not hard to conceive why people don’t take the guy seriously. 

Cowherd is loud and far from level-headed, and on Monday he made a few ridiculous comments regarding Rangers ace Cliff Lee.

Lee was shelled for eight earned runs on 10 hits against the light-hitting Orioles this weekend.  Instead of chalking it up as a rare bad outing — the type of which every great pitcher has experienced — Cowherd asserted that the left-handed Lee was not trying, and that he “mailed it in” against Baltimore because he “doesn’t care about Texas.”

Cowherd went on to say that sources have told him Lee “will not re-sign with Texas” because he wants to be a Yankee.

That drew a response from Lee on Monday night, via ESPNDallas.com:

“It’s a lie,” Lee said. “Write that. Are you writing? Write that it’s a
lie. I did not say that and nobody close to me would say that. Either
say who the source is or shut up because I am saying it is not true.”

We’re going to side with Lee on this one.  He’s been lights-out, for the most part, since the Rangers acquired him in July and a few bumps in the road don’t necessitate the creation of conspiracy theories. 

A better assumption, if assumptions are even needed, is that the left-hander is focused on reaching the playoffs with his current first-place club and not worried about his impending free agency.  At least not yet.

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.