Change is good in this case, but the Mariners’ on-field product isn’t likely to be improved by the decision Monday to cut Milton Bradley and Ryan Langerhans and add Carlos Peguero and Michael Wilson.
The 24-year-old Peguero is big, strong and surprisingly fast, but he also struck out more than 170 times in high-A ball in 2009 and again in Double-A last year. He had a 34/9 K/BB ratio to go along with his .282 average and four homers in 103 at-bats for Triple-A Tacoma this season. During his brief major league stint last month, he went 2-for-11 with five strikeouts.
And while Peguero has the speed to play center, he’d be quite a downgrade from Michael Saunders defensively either there or in left after Franklin Gutierrez returns. He’s also a very poor basestealer, having gotten thrown out on 13 of his 28 attempts since the beginning of 2009.
Wilson has a knack for hitting homers in bunches, as he showed by clobbering eight in the Cactus League for the Mariners in 2009, but he’s 28 and he’s another player with contact issues. While it’s nice to see him getting rewarded with a callup in his 10th season in the Mariners’ minor league system, his only chance of sticking for the long haul is as a platoon starter against lefties. In three seasons in the PCL, he’s hit a modest .255/.341/.463 with 26 homers and a 133/58 K/BB ratio in 566 at-bats.
My guess is that Peguero returns to Triple-A when Gutierrez comes off the DL, with Wilson staying and forming a platoon with Saunders in left field. Peguero isn’t completely hopeless as a possible long-term regular, but he’s not ready to take on major league breaking balls right now.
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.