The strong implication in all of the stories about the Jose Guillen HGH investigation is that the Giants kept Guillen off the postseason roster because of the investigation. A source with knowledge of the investigation, however, tells me that this isn’t the case. The decision to keep Guillen off the roster was a baseball decision, borne of his lingering neck injuries and, quite frankly, his ineffectiveness down the stretch. No one at Major League Baseball, my source tells me, “directed the Giants” to keep Guillen off, to use the term from the New York Times story that broke the news. Baseball, the Giants and Bochy all declined comment on this question in the story.
Maybe to some folks this doesn’t matter — Jose is in trouble either way, and I have no basis for questioning the allegations mentioned in the NYT story — but I think it’s an important distinction. Why? because a lot of people have been saying that the HGH thing may have saved Bruce Bochy from himself, and that he would have played Guillen over Ross in the playoffs had it not come down. This isn’t fair to Bochy. He made the right baseball call here, just as he’s made the right calls in just about everything he’s done since the playoffs began. Let’s give the dude some credit for it, no?
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.