OK, so the actual story is less dirty than it probably sounds, but still.
Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post checked in on No. 1 overall pick Bryce Harper’s early experience in the Florida instructional league and got some amusing details from Nationals director of player development Doug Harris:
At the Nationals’ player development complex in Viera, Fla., the officials running the Nats’ Instructional League team set up a bracket-style tournament in which pairs of players compete in the game Cornhole, in which teammates try to throw beanbags filled with corn into through a hole in a wooden board. “Just to break up the monotony a little bit,” Harris said. They started today, and Harper — the first overall pick, apparently, for reasons other than his skill at Saturday morning tailgates — did not make it out of Round 1.
As for Harper’s actual performance on the field, here’s what Harris had to say:
Good days and bad days. He’s had some days with a couple homers. But he’s also swung through some balls. He’s still a 17-year-old. As physical and athletic as he is, it’s easy to overlook that at times. He looks like a 21-year-old college kid. He’s taken a lot in regarding defense, base running, his approach to hitting, all the finer points of the game.
Kilgore notes that Harper is unlikely to play in the Arizona Fall League, which begins next week. So he’ll have plenty of time to work on his cornholing.
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.