Buster Olney said this this morning: “Is the NL Central race over? Well, it’s not literally over. But if this were the 1972 presidential election, the Cardinals would be McGovern and the Brewers would be Richard Nixon.”
I guess that makes the Reds Hubert Humphrey, the Pirates Edmund Muskie, the Cubs Shirley Chisholm and the Astros George Wallace.
And it makes Tony La Russa Thomas Eagleton, which would explain a hell of a lot. Not that La Russa is totally crazy. He suspected the Brewers of cheating not too long ago and, as history shows us, Nixon did, in fact, cheat.
Now, which Cardinals beat writer shall we cast in the Hunter S. Thompson role for “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail?” I’m gonna go with Matthew Leach of MLB.com. I think he could pull it off. I saw him wearing a tropical print shirt at the Winter Meetings last year. At least I think I did. It was late and there was a lot of beer.
OK, all of you readers who are either (a) under 50; or (b) not fixated on random Baby Boomer-era history like I am can resume reading the blog now.
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.