Remember last year how Phillies fans came down to Washington en masse for a couple of series against the Nationals? About how no one in Washington except the accountants were happy with it? About how it was a symbol of just how bad Nationals baseball was that fans from an opposing team would travel and take over the Nationals’ very own ballpark? Well, Jayson Werth went on a radio show today and assured Nats fans that that won’t happen again:
“That’s gonna change quick. I think you guys are gonna see. The owners are on board, and Mike Rizzo’s done a good job. The reason those people come over here is they don’t have a chance to watch their team in Philadelphia. And as soon as we start filling the seats here with Nats fans, those people are gonna go away and we’re gonna regain home-field advantage. And I’m looking forward to that day, for sure.”
That’s admirable. And I really do hope that Werth helps instill a fresh new attitude about the Nationals in their hometown. But if he thinks that’s going to do anything apart from inspiring Philly fans to try even harder to buy out the seats to the first Nats-Phillies series in Washington next season he’s crazy. If anything, tickets in CBP will be even harder to come by then they were last season, what with Cliff Lee and all. And with Werth drawing this line in the sand, you just know that there are thousands of Philly fans who will be eager to cross it.
By the way: that first series is April 12th through the 14th. Get your credit cards and bus tickets ready, Philly fans!
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.