Terrence Moore of MLB.com would like you — and every single development in baseball since, I dunno, 1965, to get off his lawn:
No question, baseball’s home run records are tarnished by those who spent part of their careers with artificially enhanced bodies, or have been suspected of it. That said, why don’t folks talk much — if at all — about that other great evil in this regard called the designated hitter?
I’m all for bashing the designated hitter. It’s fun! But to suggest — as Moore does here, at length and with his tongue decidedly not in his cheek — that an honest-to-goodness on-the-books-for-nearly-40-years baseball rule “tarnishes” hitting records is preposterous.
The story of baseball is all about changes in context. Baseball in 1865 was different than baseball in 1895 which was different than 1915, which was different than 1925, which was different than 1935, 1945, 1965, 1977, 1988, 2000 and on to today. The ball has changed, So too have the parks, the bats, the rules, the mounds, the players and a host of other things. The only consistent thing about the conditions in which baseball is played and in which records were set is their inconsistency.
Yet, despite this, Moore brings up the idea of “asterisks” in the event Alex Rodriguez breaks the home run record as a DH with a straight face. Insanity.
Observation: if we let go of the notion that there was a time when baseball was in some Garden-of-Eden state, only to later become tarnished and corrupted, most of the crap that riles people up about it would simply melt away.
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.