Yeah, I went with the cute headline. Sue me.
In signing Yu Darvish to a six-year, $60 million contract, the Rangers committed $111.7 million to the 25-year-old hurler. Whether he’ll stay healthy and justify the expense is anyone’s guess, but given his track record, it was a price worth paying.
My guess is that Darvish becomes far and away the Rangers’ best hurler and the American League Rookie of the Year this season. A Cy Young Award seems unlikely, but it can’t be completely ruled out. My projection for the upcoming Rotoworld draft guide calls for a 15-8 record, a 3.49 ERA and 186 strikeouts in 193 2/3 innings.
Darvish’s first big test will be the adjustment from pitching once a week to once every five or six days. The second will be the Texas heat in the summer. Put him in the NL in a bigger ballpark and I would have projected him for a sub-3.00 ERA this year. Rangers Ballpark, though, is the most hitter friendly in the AL.
I see Darvish getting off to a terrific start, but fading as the year goes on and maybe logging some time on the disabled list with arm fatigue. Darvish was a workhorse in Japan — he completed 10 of his 28 starts and threw 232 innings last season — but this new schedule will take some getting used to. It actually might be for the best if he misses a chunk of July or August; the Rangers should have the depth to cover for him and he’d likely be stronger down the stretch and, hopefully, in the postseason.
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.