Gotta hand it to the Yankees: they really know how to counter a move. The Phillies get Cliff Lee? Bam! New York gets Mark Prior. The Brewers snag Zack Greinke? Bam! New Yorks signs Luis Vizcaino.
OK, that’s not fair. I know those moves aren’t in response to anything and would have happened anyway. I do think their timing is kind of amusing, though, because it makes me imagine an alternative reality in which the Yankees are barely able to stay afloat, live off of scrap-heap signings and bank everything on lighting-in-a-bottle performances. In this mini-fantasy, Brian Cashman transforms from his current self preaching patience about the team’s offseason plans into a 20-year older version of himself, more disheveled, pleading with Yankees fans to have patience because it takes a lot of time to build a winning team.
Yeah, I have lame fantasies.
Anyway, Vizcaino used to be with the Yankees and is late of Cleveland, where he hasn’t pitched in the majors since June 2009. His top end is probably garbage-time middle-reliever, the sort of which rarely if ever get their own posts here at HBT.
But hey, if it gives me an opportunity to imagine the Yankees as a struggling mid-market team in the middle of its third five-year plan in the past decade it’s totally worth it.
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.
With the Braves on the cusp of formalizing their one-year deal with Kurt Suzuki, the market for free agent catcher Matt Wieters is dwindling. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick references an inside source that lists the Angels, Rockies and Reds as potential suitors for the 30-year-old’s services.
Wieters is coming off of an eight-year career with the Orioles. In 2016, he played through his first full year after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2014 and batted .243/.302/.409 with 17 home runs and a .711 OPS in 464 PA. A return to Baltimore in 2017 isn’t out of the question, Crasnick writes, citing some within the team that would be open to Wieters stepping into a DH role and catching platoon with Wellington Castillo. However, he also points out that the front office appears divided on the veteran catcher, and sees the Orioles as a long shot for the foreseeable future.
The Angels have already been tied to Wieters this offseason, while the Rockies and Reds don’t appear to have made any formal inquiries so far. Both could use a veteran presence behind the dish, as the Rockies are planning to platoon rookie catcher Tom Murphy with 24-year-old Tony Wolters in the spring. The Reds, meanwhile, are banking on a quick recovery for 28-year-old Devin Mesoraco, who missed most of the 2016 season after undergoing shoulder and hip surgery and forced the club to rely almost exclusively on back-up backstop Tucker Barnhart.