The Phillies’ Domonic Brown had a breakthrough season at age 25, finishing tied for fourth in the NL with 27 homers and appearing in the All-Star Game. That would seem to make him a centerpiece player, right?
The big problem with Brown is that his defense is truly hideous in left field. UZR rated him 58th of the 62 outfielders to play at least 900 innings last season, and the eye test suggest his defensive stats aren’t very far off the mark. He’s not so bad that he has to become a DH immediately, but he does give away a fair amount of that offensive value with his glovework.
And that’s why the Phillies are open to moving him. For one thing, they have a very similar replacement available in Darin Ruf; he can offer similar power, though from the opposite side of the plate, and similarly bad defense. He also wouldn’t have the same kind of trade value as Brown. Brown might be able to fetch Chris Tillman from the Orioles or James Paxton or Erasmo Ramirez, plus a second prospect, from the Mariners. Ruf probably wouldn’t bring a legitimate starting pitcher back by himself.
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.