ESPN’s Buster Olney chimes in with the news a lot of Milwaukee fans have been dreading hearing:
Brewers indicating to others they are pretty much out on Prince Fielder, and are moving on.
Moving on to whom is an open question. While the Brewers are believed to be willing to spend $20 million per year to keep Fielder, they’re not likely to take all that money and use it elsewhere if Fielder is out of the mix. They’ll probably be players for Jimmy Rollins, with the idea of using him as a leadoff man and letting Rickie Weeks hit cleanup behind Ryan Braun. However, if they can’t sign Rollins, it’s doubtful that they’ll add a big name.
As for first base, they could try to add Carlos Pena or Derrek Lee, but they also have an in-house option in longtime prospect Mat Gamel. The 26-year-old Gamel is a career .222/.309/.374 hitter in 171 major league at-bats, but he’s batted .301/.374/.512 in 1,098 at-bats in Triple-A. It’d make sense to go with him if the Brewers use up their budget room for Rollins.
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.