Scott Olsen tossed four no-hit innings yesterday in his first relief appearance since 2005, but afterward made it very clear that he wants nothing to do with the bullpen long term.
I’d like to start. I don’t want to be a bullpen guy. The biggest difference in not being able to throw 140 feet before I get on the mound. That’s not going to work. I’ve done it. I don’t get on the mound unless I play long toss. That’s the biggest difference. Obviously, I don’t want to be in the bullpen. I’d rather start. That’s not what they want me to do.
Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post described Olsen as “slumped in a chair in front of his locker” and noted his “glum postgame demeanor.”
Olsen’s reluctance to fill a role he’s basically never filled before is certainly understandable, but he’s at the “beggars can’t be choosers” portion of his career at this point. He’s gone 3-8 with a 5.88 ERA in 15 starts this season and is 23-38 with a 5.22 ERA in 92 starts since his good rookie season for the Marlins in 2006.
Four years, 92 starts, and 516 innings worth of a 5.22 ERA as a starter basically means you no longer have any say over your role. And if anything Olsen should be open to a move to the bullpen because it might extend his career and give him a chance to be something more than a fourth or fifth starter.
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.