During a radio appearance on 98.5 “The Sports Hub” in Boston this afternoon Red Sox owner John Henry explained that he “personally opposed” the team’s decision to sign free agent Carl Crawford to a seven-year, $142 million contract last offseason.
Henry said that he ultimately deferred to general manager Theo Epstein and the front office decision-makers, adding:
We had plenty of left-handed hitting. I don’t have to go into why. I’ll just tell you that at the time I opposed the deal, but I don’t meddle to the point of making decisions for our baseball team.
Which is how an owner should be, although going on the radio to say you opposed a $142 million decision by the GM who just happens to be on his way out of town seems a little shady considering how various unsavory details about Terry Francona’s tenure magically appeared as soon as he was no longer the manager.
On the other hand, at the time of the Crawford signing Epstein did say that he had to talk ownership into the move and Henry also said during the same interview today that “I would have loved for Theo to be our GM for the next 20 years … I did everything I could personally to make that happen.”
And then when it didn’t happen, he went on radio to distance himself and the team from one of Epstein’s biggest moves, which seems to be the Red Sox’s modus operandi when it comes to longtime employees leaving the organization. Oh, and surely Crawford will love hearing about how the owner of the team he’s signed with through 2017 didn’t want him in the first place.
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.