We heard back in September that some big changes could be coming to the Japanese player posting system. Some details on those changes are beginning to emerge.
While early word indicated that the player would get more control in the process, potentially deciding among the top three bids, that apparently won’t be the case here. In fact, the changes are rather small.
I’m not so sure things will work out that way. If anything, teams may be more inclined to bid higher than they usually would if they believe that they’ll only have to pay an average of the top two bids. Nothing is official yet, so we’ll have to wait on an announcement from MLB and Nippon Professional Baseball.
We should see the new posting system in action soon with the much-hyped Masahiro Tanaka expected to be made available. Bidding figures to top the $51.7 million figure the Rangers paid for exclusive negotiating rights with Yu Darvish two offseasons ago while the Yankees, Dodgers, and Cubs are among the teams expected to be in the mix.
UPDATE: It looks like other changes are coming. Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times cites reports in Japan that teams that win the bidding on a player and fail to sign him will be fined.
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.