Note: With Craig out of town, we have a “Settling the Score” in place of the usual “And That Happened.” Don’t worry, we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming on Tuesday.
While two teams clinched playoff spots yesterday, the American League Wild Card picture remains a crowded one. The Rangers and Rays will enter the weekend tied for the two Wild Card spots after splitting a four-game series this week. The Indians find themselves just a half-game back (one back in the loss column) following a thrilling win over the Astros in 15 innings last night. While the Orioles lost to the Red Sox last night, they are just two games back and will begin a four-game series against the Rays tonight at Tropicana Field. The Royals were idle yesterday and sit three games back. Meanwhile, the Yankees lost to the Blue Jays yesterday to fall 3 1/2 games behind and appear to be the biggest longshot of the bunch. We might not have a ton of intrigue in most of the other races, but the AL Wild Card should keep us plenty occupied over the next week and a half.
Your Thursday box scores:
Padres 1, Pirates 10
Mariners 4, Tigers 5
Giants 2, Mets 1
Astros 1, Indians 2 (11 innings)
Cubs 5, Brewers 1
Yankees 2, Blue Jays 6
Cardinals 6, Rockies 7 (15 innings)
Orioles 1, Red Sox 3
Dodgers 7, Diamondbacks 6
Rangers 8, Rays 2
Marlins 2, Nationals 3
Twins 6, Athletics 8
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.