Marlins starter Jose Fernandez padded his NL Rookie of the Year and Cy Young cases with seven outstanding innings against the Nationals tonight, bringing a no-hitter into the sixth inning. The Nationals stood no chance, recording just one hit — a squibber down the third base line by pinch-hitter Zach Walters with one out in the sixth — against the Marlins’ rookie while striking out nine times.
Marlins manager Mike Redmond pulled Fernandez after seven as he had thrown 94 pitches. The team plans to shut Fernandez down after his next start, which could come on Wednesday against the Braves. With 165.2 innings pitched, a career-high at any professional level for the 21-year-old. He has struck out 182 batters and posted a 2.23 ERA, putting himself firmly in the NL Cy Young discussion along with Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers and Matt Harvey of the Mets. His biggest competitor for the NL Rookie of the Year award is Yasiel Puig of the Dodgers.
The Marlins gave Fernandez plenty of support, scoring five runs in three innings against Nationals starter Dan Haren. Logan Morrison crushed a two-run homer against Haren in the third inning, officially measured at 484 feet, a Marlins Park record. Giancarlo Stanton added a run in the eighth with a solo home run, his 19th of the season as the Fish went on to win 7-0. The Braves lost 2-1 to the Phillies, so the Nationals remain 14 games out of first place. The Reds won, dropping the Nats eight games out of the second Wild Card.
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.