Mike Schmidt — the baseball player, not the New York Times reporter — has a column today in which he questions the wisdom of the Washington Nats’ deal with Jayson Werth.
I question the wisdom of it too, as do a lot of people. But what is striking about Schmidt’s criticism is that it’s based on Werth being a “young man” with “potential” who is “in his growth stage.” Of course, Jayson Werth will be 32 next season. Almost everyone else who has criticized the deal has done so on the basis that he’s too old to be given seven years. So, yeah, this one is a bit different.
I will say, though, Schmidt’s use of one phrase has to give Nats’ fans the willies:
Jayson now will be the man, the cleanup hitter with the burden of production, far surpassing anything he has experienced.
That’s rather stark, and for as obvious as it is, I hadn’t thought of it in those terms since the signing. The notion of Werth being your best player — which, if the Nats don’t lock up Ryan Zimmerman, he may one day be — is kind of sobering. The young kid stuff aside, I agree with Schmidt that having so much riding on Jayson Werth is a bit scary.
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.