UPDATE: It’s official: Larry Bowa and Pete Mackanin have joined Phillies staff as bench coach and 3rd base coach. Wally Joyner is out.
9:06 AM: We first talked about this in September, but now it looks like it’s gonna happen. Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that Larry Bowa is nearing an agreement to become the Phillies’ new bench coach.
Salisbury notes that Bowa is a friend and confidant of manager Ryne Sandberg’s, going back to their time on the Cubs in the early 80s when the former mentored the future Hall of Famer. Now, with Charlie Manuel out and his coaching staff being swept out after him, Sandberg understandably wants his own folks in place.
On the one hand I get it. Bowa, with managerial experience and the confidence of the manager, is sort of the prototypical bench coach in a certain way. Most of us didn’t even really think about the existence of bench coaches until we saw Don Zimmer at Joe Torre’s elbow for all of those years in the 90s, and it’s the same general deal there: ex-manager who can be a second set of eyes and someone who the skipper can bounce things off of. And his senior status is such that there isn’t some simmering job envy between them which could be weird.
On the other hand, Bowa has always been kind of a hothead who was known for berating players back when he managed. That’s not a trait you want in your bench coach. If anything, you’d want your bench coach who can be a guy that can bring player concerns to the manager and/or help communicate the manager’s diktats to the players if needed. Bowa is not exactly the great communicator.
Maybe his time away from the dugout has mellowed him. Maybe he’ll be able to adapt to the gig and not approach it the same way he did when he ran the Phillies ten years ago. But it will be interesting to watch regardless.
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.