Various reports following the Red Sox’s trade for Adrian Gonzalez suggested that the two sides had a preliminary agreement in place for a long-term contract extension, but were delaying an official announcement in part to avoid the luxury tax ramifications for 2011.
That may still be the case, as the whole point of the maneuvering would be to keep it unofficial and under wraps at this point, but Gonzalez did an interview with a Mexican blog Puro Beisbol that indicated talk of a preliminary agreement may be premature.
Here’s a translated excerpt, courtesy of Nick Collias from MLB Trade Rumors:
Nothing about that is true. It’s false. I haven’t signed any contract. We discussed the trade, but we didn’t reach any agreement, and we didn’t negotiate numbers. The only thing I have for sure is the contract that I had already signed with the Padres, and what I can tell you is that over the course of the season we’re going to negotiate to reach an agreement.
What makes it impossible to determine the truth in this situation is that Gonzalez would probably say more or less the exact same thing whether they’d agreed to a contract or not. If there’s indeed no contract in place, then his comments could be taken at face value. And if there is a contract in place, as has been reported, then the Red Sox would have told him to deny that anyway to avoid ruining the plan to manipulate the luxury tax ramifications.
Whatever the case, the Red Sox likely wouldn’t have given up three top-rated prospects without being extremely confident about signing Gonzalez to a long-term deal, and in fact when the trade with the Padres was briefly reported as being nixed the reason given was that they failed to agree to a contract in the MLB-allotted negotiating window.
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.