The Red Sox have several coaches still on staff from Terry Francona’s tenure: hitting coach Dave Magadan, bench coach DeMarlo Hale, third base coach Tim Bogar and bullpen coach Gary Tuck. Bobby Valentine could get rid of some of them. And there are a couple of other openings. And one of the potential candidates to fill that opening is someone with some Red Sox experience:
One name that surfaced as a potential candidate was that of former Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner, who managed the Brockton Rox of the independent Can-Am League last season. “He’s been a friend for years,” Valentine said. “We played together with the Dodgers. We played together in the Dominican Republic. I’ve watched his kids grow up and I respect his every opinion in baseball and in worldly matters.”
Worth noting that friendship and “opinions in baseball and in worldly matters” is pretty much the job description for a bench coach.
I’m guessing if Buckner gets hired it will set off all kinds of “Buckner returns!” headlines and talk about Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. But if it does, it’s phony and ignorant. There have been no less than two and possibly many more instances of Buckner “returning to Boston” since then. He actually came back to play his final 22 games in Boston in 1990. He’s been a guest since then, throwing out first pitches and stuff. Every time it happens, someone pumps it up as Buckner’s “redemption” or a fan “reproachment” or something. I suppose after 50 times it may stop being news.
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.