14 homers, 56 RBI.
Those are Anthony Rizzo’s totals in 44 games for Triple-A Tucson so far.
And they’re totals Brad Hawpe may struggle to match if he spends the entire season as the Padres’ first baseman.
Rizzo actually has slowed down a bit of late. He’s hit a mere .329/.415/.671 in May after dominating Triple-A pitching to the tune of a .400/.471/.744 line in April.
But even Rizzo’s bad splits are terrific. He’s doing his best work at home in Kino Stadium, but he’s still hitting .340/.411/.660 in road games. Of course the left-handed hitter is tearing up right-handers, but he’s hitting a fine .333/.364/.500 in 30 at-bats against southpaws.
And with 56 RBI in just 169 at-bats, it’s obvious he’s saving his biggest hits for when it matters. 11 of his homers have come with men on base. He’s hitting .410/.474/.860 with runners on and .458/.521/.949 with RISP.
The Padres, meanwhile, have gotten a .224/.270/.367 line with six homers and 22 RBI in 196 at-bats from their first basemen. Hawpe is on pace for 13 homers and 42 RBI at the moment.
To be fair, Hawpe is getting the job done at the moment. He’s actually been very good this month. But with Eric Hosmer having graduated, Rizzo has taken over as the game’s best first base prospect and he’s moved up his timetable in a big way with his huge start. If Hawpe goes into another slump, it’s going to be very difficult for the Padres to resist the lure of calling him 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.