Bryan Curtis of Grantland has a great story today about baseball books. About how there are so damn many baseball books. And more and more are published every year. Indeed, just by going through books published in 2014, one can read subjects spanning nearly every decade of baseball history. Go back decades and you find multiple books on any topic worth writing about and just as many on topics not necessarily worth writing about.
Curtis talks to a lot of people — myself included — about why that is. I think the biggest answer is nostalgia. People want to read about Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle and Ted Williams even if they’ve already heard it all. That’s a dynamic I have tended to mock — aw, look at the Baby Boomers getting misty-eyed about their youth! — but I can’t lie: I was excited as hell to read Dan Epstein’s latest about baseball in the 70s and when we start getting carpet-bombed with books about 1980s baseball, I’ll read every one of them and shake my fist at the youngsters who just don’t understand how baseball was in its prime back then.
And then people younger than me will feel the same way about the baseball of their youth. Of the 90s and 2000s and steroid-era baseball. Curtis and I talked about it when he interviewed me:
McGwire and Sosa will be de-villainized, by their word processors or ours. “There’s going to be such a revision,” said Craig Calcaterra. In a recent talk at a bookstore, Calcaterra found that college students weaned on ’90s baseball don’t view that decade as the fall of the national pastime. It was their childhood. “They see it in very much the same terms that we saw Gaylord Perry,” he said. “‘Oh, look at that. Wasn’t it quirky that that happened?’ The sport always overtakes the tut-tutting of people in the media.”
It won’t be sepia-toned like a Mantle book may. But some guy in his 40s or 50s will pick it up, read it and shake his fist at his kids and tell them that baseball was so much better and simpler and pure back when they were that age.
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.