Marco Scutaro had a solid first season in Boston after signing a two-year, $12.5 million contract as a free agent last winter, basically duplicating his career numbers by hitting .275/.333/.388 despite playing through multiple injuries.
He was signed in large part because of Jed Lowrie’s uncertain injury status, but now that Lowrie is healthy again Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Red Sox “are opening to trading Scutaro for the right part.”
Scutaro is owed $5 million in 2011, with a $6.5 million option or $1.5 million buyout for 2012, which suddenly looks like a very reasonable contract in what is a very weak market for free agent shortstops. However, while the Red Sox’s odds of cashing in Scutaro for good value are helped by the weak market, trading him without bringing in another shortstop option would be placing an awful lot of faith in Lowrie staying healthy.
Lowrie was fantastic after joining the team in mid-July, hitting .287/.381/.526 in 197 plate appearances, and at 26 years old has likely reasserted himself as Boston’s long-term shortstop, but he’s played a total of 87 games in the past two seasons and the Red Sox typically like to stockpile depth as much as any team. Plus, with Dustin Pedroia coming back from a broken foot having both Scutaro and Lowrie is hardly overkill.
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.