Brian Roberts hasn’t played since May 16 of last season, but there’s still no timetable for his return from multiple concussions.
Roberts has progressed to taking batting practice and fielding ground balls, and Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports that the second baseman now has more good days than bad days, but that means he’s still experiencing symptoms at least occasionally.
“I don’t know what the next step is,” Roberts admitted to Encina. “When we get to point where I guess I feel like I’m to the point where the next step is we’ll figure out what the next step is.”
Robert Andino is expected to serve as the Orioles’ starting second baseman if Roberts isn’t ready for Opening Day, but that’s a huge dropoff even if Andino is able to duplicate what was for him a career-year in 2011.
Roberts played just 59 and 39 games during the past two seasons, but prior to that averaged 152 games per season from 2004-2009 while hitting .290 with a .365 on-base percentage and .803 OPS. During that six-year span he ranked seventh among all second basemen in OPS and also stole 212 bases.
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.