When the Red Sox signed Vicente Padilla they did so in part because he’s capable of starting or relieving depending on how Daniel Bard’s attempted move into the rotation and the rest of the pitching staff shake out. However, it’s clear now that Padilla wants to be a starter.
In fact, during an appearance on WEEI in Boston this morning the veteran right-hander said he signed with the Red Sox because “this is a great opportunity to be a starter” and “I like starting … I’ve started for a long time.”
He’s right about that, as Padilla hasn’t made double-digit relief appearances in a season since 2001, but the Dodgers were using him as a reliever prior to neck surgery last season. Apparently he never liked that role and chose the Red Sox specifically because “other teams needed me as a reliever.”
He may soon find out that the Red Sox need, or at least want, him as a reliever too, but in the meantime Padilla will compete for a rotation spot while trying to prove he’s healthy at age 34. He’ll first have to make the team, period, to collect the $1.5 million roster incentive on his minor-league contract.
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.