This thing is officially a mess, but we’re going to try to lay out all the different reports and go from there.
Yankees designated hitter Jorge Posada removed himself from Saturday night’s lineup against the rival Red Sox, telling manager Joe Girardi an hour before game time that he “needed a mental day” of rest. At least, that’s how Girardi put it in his postgame press conference. A report that surfaced around the third inning from the YES Network’s Jack Curry told quite a different tale:
According to person briefed on Posada’s exchange with Girardi, Posada told mgr he was “insulted” about hitting 9th and “threw a hissy fit.”
Posada is now claiming to have a stiff back — a result of taking pregame infield practice at first base — but did not inform Girardi of the ailment during their pregame conversation.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman made his way to the press box around the fourth inning to discuss the matter but did not divulge much information, saying that he “didn’t want to speak for” the 39-year-old designated hitter and that he had no knowledge of any sort of injury. Reports followed stating that Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner was “in contact with Bud Selig’s office” regarding Posada’s refusal to play.
There aren’t two sides to this story. There are several. But in each one of them Posada looks like a complete clown. He either refused to play on Saturday night against the Red Sox because he felt slighted at being dropped to the ninth spot in the lineup — a preposterous attitude considering his lofty $13.1 million salary and current offensive struggles — or he’s actually injured and didn’t bother to tell anyone.
Whatever the case, it’s on Posada to patch things up. Either with a public apology or closed-door meeting with Girardi and Cashman, an apology must be issued so that the situation can blow over.
Posada is batting just .165 with a .621 OPS in 33 games this year. On a team full of aging DH types like Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Andruw Jones, the guy is far more expendable than he might think.
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.