Last night the Twins ran wild on the White Sox, stealing five bases in five attempts, and after the loss catcher A.J. Pierzynski put most of the blame on pitcher Gavin Floyd:
We all know where we stand with the running game when Gavin is out there. Everyone knows where we stand, and it’s just part of the game.
Floyd is incredibly easy to steal on, as runners are a perfect 15-for-15 off him this season and 105-for-121 (86.8 percent) for his career. However, the White Sox’s inability to control the running game extends well beyond last night and well beyond Floyd.
Chicago has allowed 61 steals in 69 games and is the only team in the league to throw out fewer than 20 percent of runners. And even that terrible rate is misleading, as a) Mark Buehrle has always been nearly impossible to run on, and b) eight of the team’s 14 caught stealings have come on pickoffs.
When the catcher actually has to make a throw, the White Sox have allowed 61 steals on 67 attempts for a throw-out rate of 9 percent. To put that in some context, the league-average throw-out rate is 29 percent. Take out Floyd and opponents are still 46-for-52 (88.4 percent) and Pierzynski’s throw-out percentages during seven seasons with the White Sox are 23, 22, 24, 18, 23, 26, and 20.
One-fifth of the time Buehrle shuts down the running game, one-fifth of the time opponents run wild on Floyd, and in the other three-fifths of the time opponents run at will on Pierzynski (and backup catcher Ramon Castro). There’s plenty of blame to go around.
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.