Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports that the Pirates have been thus far unsuccessful in signing outfielder Starling Marte to a multi-year contract extension. According to reports, Marte turned down at least two offers. The two sides remain open to negotiations, however.
GM Neal Huntington explained the benefit of locking up players early:
“The (advantage) is the same as any multiyear extension,” Huntington said. “You’ve got a chance to set your costs, and it can help you build around that player who you think is going to be an integral part of your future. Because of the enormous risk that you’re taking, you’re looking to save a few dollars, either on the front side in the arbitration years or on the backside in free agent years.
“The player’s risk is he outperforms the contract. If he does that, he’s got a huge free-agent contract staring him in the face. The (possible) downside if he turns it down is he never gets another offer, so he never gets that money back.”
Marte, 25, still has two seasons to go until he is eligible for arbitration and will not hit free agency until after the 2018 season. In his first full year in the big leagues in 2013, Marte slashed .280/.343/.441 with 41 stolen bases. Along with above-average defense in the outfield, Marte ranked among the most valuable outfielders in baseball last season.
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.