Last year the Nationals snookered the Twins into giving up a stud catching prospect for the most replaceable of all commodities, the Proven Closer. But Matt-Capps for Wilson Ramos was one of those once-in-a-lifetime brain farts, right? Surely Bill Smith and the Twins aren’t going to do something like that again, right?
Maybe! While it was reported yesterday that the Nationals — the Nationals! — were unwilling to trade their closer, Drew Storen, for center fielder Denard Span, Ken Rosenthal reports that talks are still ongoing along those lines. It may be sweeter than a straight swap, however, as Rosenthal says that Roger Bernadina, the career .243/.308/.360 hitter, may be included.
I’ll grant that Storen is better than Capps and that, because he’s injured right now, Span is not at a career high point. But really, if the Nationals are able, for the second straight year, to trade a closer to the Twins for a solid player at a scarce defensive position, the Twins may as well just be disbanded by force or placed in protective custody so that they can do more harm to themselves or others.
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.