We’ve all known for over a year now that the Mets weren’t going to want to be on the hook for Francisco Rodriguez’s $17.5 million option for 2012. They would have given him away to be out from under it. As is, they had to pay the Brewers almost $6 million just to get a couple of middling prospects in return for K-Rod.
And as soon as the Brewers picked him up, we knew they had no intention of allowing Rodriguez to get the 21 games finished he’d need during the second half to guarantee that option. No one wants to spend $17.5 million on a closer.
That said, this isn’t armageddon. If the Brewers lose John Axford to injury, they need to go ahead and let Rodriguez close. It’s not a decision that would cost them $17.5 million.
As part of the trade, the Mets picked up the nearly $6 million of the $8.4 million owed to Rodriguez. $4.9 million of the $8.4 million of that is the remainder of his $11.5 million salary for 2011. The rest is a $3.5 million buyout attached to Rodriguez’s $17.5 million option.
So, really, that makes the option worth $14 million, since the $3.5 million is spoken for anyway. And there’s going to be at least one team out there willing to take on Rodriguez as a $9 million-$10 million closer this winter. The only way that wouldn’t be the case is if Rodriguez gets hurt and finishes the season on the DL, and there is a clause in his contract that voids the ability of the option to vest in the event of an injury.
The way I see it, pretty much the worst-case scenario here is that the Brewers have to eat $5 million in the event of the option becoming guaranteed. That’s not nothing, but it’s not going to kill a team with a payroll in the $90 million range. Most likely, the Brewers won’t have to deal with it anyway.
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.