According to Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle, the Astros have received permission to interview Rays’ executive vice president Andrew Friedman for their general manager vacancy.
The Astros have requested interviews with “a handful” of other candidates for the job, but Justice hears that Friedman is their No. 1 target to replace Ed Wade.
As you may recall, the 34-year-old Friedman dined with with Angels owner Arte Moreno and team president John Carpino last month, though it’s unclear whether he seriously considered joining their front office. Many believe that it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to lure Friedman away from Tampa Bay, as he is very close with owner Stu Sternberg. It’s hard to believe Friedman would join the Astros if he didn’t take the Angels’ job, at least from a pure baseball perspective, but it is worth noting that he is from Houston. Hey, stranger things, right?
Justice hears that two members of the Rangers’ front office — assistant general manager Thad Levine and senior director of player personnel A.J. Preller —- are also believed to be under consideration for the job while former Astros general manager Gerry Hunsicker will not be interviewed. Assistant general manager David Gottfried has replaced Wade on an interim basis.
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.