UPDATE: Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com reports that Alfredo Simon could be released as early as Wednesday. According to Phil Isaac of the Para Sports Group, one of Simon’s agents, a ballistics test proved that the bullet that killed Michael Esteban Castillo Almonte didn’t come from the gun Simon turned into authorities. Simon could be released after his attorneys file another appeal on Wednesday.
9:20 AM: Orioles’ reliever Alfredo Simon has been in a Dominican jail for a long time now, suspected but not yet charged in the shooting death of Michael Castillo on New Year’s Eve. The Orioles have placed him on the restricted list, likely figuring that it would be a long, long time — if ever — before they see him again.
Now that has changed, with Brittany Ghiroli reporting that authorities have moved on to a different suspect and that Simon may be released from custody in a week to ten days. His agent said “we fully expect him to be back up — and pitching very soon.”
As Ghiroli notes, even if he’s released Simon is a longshot to make the Orioles Opening Day roster. Still, good news for Simon if this is borne out. I mean, no one who has been in the bigs wants to pitch in Norfolk, but it sure as hell beats a jail cell.
(thanks to reader Random Digits for the heads up)
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.