The Giants lost their third game in a row, their fifth loss in their last six games as they went down 5-0 to the Rockies this afternoon. Starter Barry Zito labored into the sixth, allowing five runs on 11 hits in 5.2 innings. It marks the sixth consecutive game in which Giants pitching has allowed five or more runs.
As for the starters specifically, Zito allowed eight (five earned) on Tuesday, Ryan Vogelsong allowed eight (three earned) on Wednesday, Matt Cain allowed six runs in 6.1 innings on Thursday, Madison Bumgarner allowed nine in 4.2 innings on Friday, and Tim Lincecum allowed six runs in five innings yesterday. Overall, the Giants’ collective 4.87 rotation ERA is the third-worst in the National League, better than only the Brewers and Padres.
CSN Bay Area’s Andrew Baggarly says that the Giants aren’t likely to make any immediate rotation changes. He does suggest keeping an eye on Mike Kickham, a 24-year-old lefty with Triple-A Fresno. While he has a 4.72 ERA in 47.2 innings, Baggarly notes his recent improvement:
He allowed one run (unearned) in six innings while striking out eight Saturday night. He’s 2-1 with a 1.80 ERA over his last four starts, with a 25-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Stuff-wise, Kickham brings a lot more to the table than right-hander Chris Heston, who has a 5.33 ERA through nine starts. A left-hander, Kickham can maintain low 90s velocity and has a pretty good slider.
I wouldn’t expect the Giants to bring up Kickham this week, or anything. Chad Gaudin remains the first option should the Giants decide to give one of their five starters a break.
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.
With the Braves on the cusp of formalizing their one-year deal with Kurt Suzuki, the market for free agent catcher Matt Wieters is dwindling. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick references an inside source that lists the Angels, Rockies and Reds as potential suitors for the 30-year-old’s services.
Wieters is coming off of an eight-year career with the Orioles. In 2016, he played through his first full year after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2014 and batted .243/.302/.409 with 17 home runs and a .711 OPS in 464 PA. A return to Baltimore in 2017 isn’t out of the question, Crasnick writes, citing some within the team that would be open to Wieters stepping into a DH role and catching platoon with Wellington Castillo. However, he also points out that the front office appears divided on the veteran catcher, and sees the Orioles as a long shot for the foreseeable future.
The Angels have already been tied to Wieters this offseason, while the Rockies and Reds don’t appear to have made any formal inquiries so far. Both could use a veteran presence behind the dish, as the Rockies are planning to platoon rookie catcher Tom Murphy with 24-year-old Tony Wolters in the spring. The Reds, meanwhile, are banking on a quick recovery for 28-year-old Devin Mesoraco, who missed most of the 2016 season after undergoing shoulder and hip surgery and forced the club to rely almost exclusively on back-up backstop Tucker Barnhart.