After watching Ricky Romero go 0-12 with a 7.98 ERA in his previous 13 starts the Blue Jays mercifully decided to skip his turn in the rotation last week, giving the former All-Star a much-needed break.
Unfortunately it didn’t do much good.
Romero rejoined the rotation last night against the Mariners and failed to make it out of the fifth inning, allowing four runs on eight hits and four walks while recording just 12 outs.
With the loss he dropped to 8-14 with a 5.87 ERA overall, including 0-13 with a 7.91 ERA, .325 opponents’ batting average, and more walks (48) than strikeouts (44) in 72 innings spread over his last 14 starts. And remember, this is a 27-year-old pitcher who signed a $30 million contract extension after throwing 225 innings with a 2.92 ERA last season.
Romero has given up trying to explain his struggles, basically throwing his hands up when talking ro reporters after each terrible start, but manager John Farrell continues to insist that the Blue Jays will not shut him down. At this point I’m not sure if that’s showing confidence in Romero or some form of punishment.
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.