Publicly at least most players say they aren’t bothered a ton by trade rumors, but B.J. Upton admitted feeling very relieved yesterday once the afternoon deadline came and went without his leaving Tampa Bay.
In fact, Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune notes that Upton “raised his arms and yelled ‘word … I’m still here!'” as the deadline officially passed while he played catch in the outfield.
Here’s what Upton told Mooney about the experience of being on the trading block:
I’m just glad it’s over with. That’s probably the most nerve-wracking two weeks I ever had. I’ve always said I want to be here. I grew up playing with these guys, a lot of good guys on this team, a good organization, so I’m just glad it’s over with and we can move forward and continue to try to win ball games.
Definitely a little bit tougher than I thought it would be. You wake up and that’s the first thing you see is trade talks, and obviously I was in them. Come to the field and that’s all you see all over the place, you guys ask me the same thing every day, so yeah, it was definitely tough. I’m glad it’s over.
Upton went 5-for-52 (.096) in the two weeks leading up to the trade deadline, although certainly he’s had plenty of prolonged slumps in the past without being able to blame trade rumors for shaking him up. And while he’s out of the woods for now, there’s a slim chance he could still be moved before August 31 and the Rays will almost certainly revisit trade talks for Upton during the offseason.
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.