Jason Kipnis announced the move himself on Twitter:
I’m Coming Cleveland!!
With Grady Sizemore on the shelf and the Indians in need of a bat, Kipnis will join the team tomorrow. What exactly he’ll be doing is still unclear. Kipnis is a former outfielder who moved to second base last year. The Indians could decide to start him at second over Orlando Cabrera, but they also have an obvious need in the outfield now and may stash him there instead.
The 24-year-old Kipnis was hitting .279/.361/.481 with 12 homers and 12 steals for Triple-A Columbus. He was actually ice cold as of late, having gone 3-for-31 since play resumed following the All-Star break. He hit .297/.380/.506 during the first half of the season.
While he’s a left-handed hitter, Kipnis has actually done his best work against southpaws this season, hitting .313/.388/.536 with five homers. He’s at .262/.348/.454 versus righties.
The Indians wouldn’t call him up now unless they intended to play him regularly. Whether it’s at second base or in left field, expect to see him in the lineup nearly everyday.
Update: The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Paul Hoynes reports that Kipnis will play mostly second base and that it “doesn’t sound like he’ll see much, if any, time” in the outfield.
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.