Stephen Strasburg tossed six innings of two-run ball in a series-sweeping victory over the Blue Jays this afternoon and in the process became the first pitcher this season to crack 100 strikeouts.
Justin Verlander is next up with 95 strikeouts, so he’ll likely join Strasburg in the triple-digit club when he starts tomorrow against the Cubs.
As for Strasburg, he’s 8-1 with a 2.45 ERA and 100/20 K/BB ratio in 77 innings this season, allowing just five homers and a .213 opponents’ batting average through 13 starts. He’s now made 30 total starts for his career–12 before Tommy John surgery and 18 after–and Strasburg is 14-5 with a 2.50 ERA and 216/39 K/BB ratio in 169 innings.
During that time his 11.5 strikeouts per nine innings leads all pitchers with 25-plus starts and no one else has more than 10.0. And his 5.54 strikeouts per walk is the third-best in baseball behind only Cliff Lee at 6.81 and Roy Halladay at 6.27, with no other pitcher above 4.75. Oh, and he doesn’t turn 24 years old until next month.
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.