I wasn’t aware of this, but apparently there is a fan poll in which people can vote for who they’d like to see in the All-Star Game Home Run Derby. You can vote here.
Major League Baseball just announced who was leading the voting thus far: In the NL it’s Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder and Ryan Howard. In the AL it’s Jose Bautista, Josh Hamilton and David Ortiz. Unlike any other sort of All-Star voting, I can’t find any fault whatsoever in that voting. Those are probably the six guys who, if I cared all that much about the Home Run Derby, I’d want to see in it. Adam Dunn, Justin Upton and Mike Stanton can be alternates.
The sad thing, of course, is that this voting is non-binding. Indeed, the voting page itself says “If you could choose, who would you like to participate,” underscoring the fact that we cannot choose. Not all players want to do this thing. Despite the evidence on it not being terribly conclusive, a lot of them think that swinging in the Derby messes them up in the second half of the season. It almost certainly tires them out on a day they’d be resting anyway.
Personally, I’d like to see a skills exhibition with players doing Tom Emansky-style drills, but I’d guess that’s a pipe dream.
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.