The Nationals and Phillies seemed like the most logical potential suitors for free agent center fielder Michael Bourn when this offseason got underway.
But the Nats traded for Denard Span and the Phils traded for Ben Revere, both from the Twins. Which has everybody wondering where Bourn will now land.
Here’s one theory — if we can call it that — from the well-connected Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe:
It will be interesting to see where Bourn’s market goes. Some believe the Yankees are quietly interested and will pounce if the price comes down, which would give them the leadoff hitter they have wanted for some time.
Cafardo also mentions the Rangers — who are desperate for some kind of splash — as a “possibility.”
The Yankees are trying to get their payroll under $189 million by the start of the 2014 season to avoid another luxury tax hit and haven’t seriously engaged any free agents who are thought to be seeking long-term deals. But Bourn might ultimately come pretty cheap, and he does fit one of the Bombers’ primary needs.
Bourn batted .274/.348/.391 with a career-high nine home runs and 57 RBI across 703 plate appearances this past season for the Braves. The fleet-footed 29-year-old also stole 42 bases in 55 attempts.
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.