As promised, MLB soon will meet with Alex Rodriguez to discuss his involvement in high-stakes poker games, according to the New York Daily News.
The newspaper reports that the meeting will take place “in a few days” at MLB’s offices in New York, but commissioner Bud Selig likely won’t be there and the talks aren’t expected to lead to much of anything.
Here’s what an unnamed “source” told the Daily News:
This has been overblown. They just want to talk to him just to tell him to stop getting in these crazy situations. There is no chance he will be suspended. There is no chance a suspension would be upheld by an arbitrator, based on what we know about this. Everybody plays cards on team planes and in clubhouses. This is no different.
Obviously the Yankees and MLB would prefer that Rodriguez not play in high-stakes poker games, particularly given some of the other details about the people and places involved, but ultimately the “high-stakes” aspect is of little concern for a guy who earns $200,000 per day and MLB seems to be making it an issue largely because he’s continued to play after being warned not to.
In addition to reportedly playing with fellow stars like Tobey Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon in exclusive Hollywood home games Rodriguez has also squared off against well-known poker pros in Las Vegas, drawing mixed reviews on his no-limit hold ’em skills from Mike Matusow and Jean-Robert Bellande.
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.