The injury-ravaged Rangers received yet more bad news on Friday, when they learned that first baseman Prince Fielder has a herniated C5-C6 disc in his neck. The Rangers placed Fielder on the 15-day disabled list, but he could undergo season-ending surgery to fix the injury.
Looking to fill the void with Fielder out, the Rangers will go back to Mitch Moreland at first base. They’ve also been scoping out available players, one of which is Nationals first baseman Tyler Moore. Via MLB.com’s Bill Ladson:
[…] the Rangers are in need of a first baseman and they have inquired about Nationals first baseman/outfielder Tyler Moore, according to a baseball source.
The source indicated that nothing is serious and the Rangers have a long list of first basemen they have interest in.
Moore and Moreland would make for a decent platoon given their last names. However, over 420 big league plate appearances, Moore has a reverse platoon split which means he has hit same-handed pitching better than opposite-handed pitching. Against right-handers, Moore has a .734 OPS and against lefties, he has a .679 OPS.
Moore has been filling in for the injured Adam LaRoche, but LaRoche made his return to the Nationals’ lineup on Sunday afternoon. As a result, Moore will see his playing time diminish, making him expendable.
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.