The talk going in to the season was that Jorge Posada’s days as a catcher were over. The Yankees have stayed true to that plan too, as he has not donned the tools of ignorance since spring training.
But before yesterday’s game, Joe Girardi conceded that, yes, Posada is the team’s “emergency catcher.” Which normally doesn’t mean much because most emergency catchers never catch. But in the Yankees’ case you might want to replace “emergency” with “backup.”
Why? Because despite the fact that the Yankees won’t put him on the disabled list for some reason, Russell Martin is hurt, with back and toe problems, and his backup — Francisco Cervelli — stinks. One foul tip and/or one Joe Girardi meltdown over just how bad Cervelli is back there, and Posada is in the game, ain’t he?
Of course the wild card here is Jesus Montero, who remains at Scranton for reasons that are only clear to Brian Cashman. I mean, no, he’s not tearing up the pea patch at the plate or anything, but he’s been solid enough compared to Cervelli. One wonders if they want to keep him down on the farm so as to preserve his marketability a bit in advance of the trade deadline, with the thinking being that if he came up to the bigs he wouldn’t hit and then no one would be willing to trade a front line starter for him. In the minors, every big prospect has the sheen and gloss of potential.
Oh well, that’s between Brian Cashman and his God. Or Randy Levine, whichever one ranks higher in the Yankees organization.
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.