UPDATE: I should probably start reading this blog once in a while, because it wasn’t until after I already posted this that I realized that Matthew posted on he same comments last night. He was far less self-righteous than I was about it, though, so I suppose both takes can stay up.
11: 18 AM: Longtime readers know my view on intentional plunkings and beanball wars: I hate ’em. A pitched ball could potentially kill a guy, so the idea of a pitcher intentionally aiming one at a batter is just abhorrent to me.
But obviously I’m out of step with major league baseball here, as there is a long and rich tradition of hit batsmen being avenged by a pitcher throwing at the other guys in retaliation. It largely goes unspoken because people tend to get fined when they admit that that’s what’s going on, but that is what’s going on.
And it’s not always unspoken. Take this from White Sox’ bench coach Mark Parent, who was asked about White Sox batters getting hit a lot last season:
One fan’s question to the coaching staff about the lopsided statistics brought much interest to a large crowd Sunday at SoxFest. “You hit our guy, we’ll hit your guy,” said new bench coach Mark Parent, whose reply was met with scattered applause.
Note: find the people who offered the applause and have nothing to do with them in the future.
I don’t know how you can cheer for that. I don’t know how any reasonable person can see their team’s player get hit and have their first impulse be “we need to hit them!” as opposed to “that pitcher needs to get ejected and suspended.”
And yes, I realize that this easily branches out into a discussion of the purposes of the criminal justice system, revenge vs. punishment, etc. etc. If you wanna have that discussion, great, let’s have it. The same considerations apply in my view.
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.