Everyone tells me that baseball is dying, and then I go and read stuff like this from Maury Brown at Forbes:
Major League Baseball got some good news on the financial front ahead of their All-Star Game, when credit benchmark company Fitch Ratings reaffirmed baseball’s ‘A’ status on the league’s $500 million senior secured credit facility. Fitch also affirmed the ‘A’ rating on the outstanding $995.85 million term notes the league is carrying. They rate MLB as “stable”.
While fans have looked at declining television ratings for Major League Baseball at the national level, baseball continues to be a financial juggernaut, and Fitch honed in on that.
As Brown notes, all of the things people say about baseball — that the national ratings suck, that the demographics make the Republican Party membership look young, hip and vibrant and that the sport somehow no longer occupies a favored place in the national consciousness — the fundamentals of the sport are still strong. It’s profitable, its TV deals are lucrative and attendance continues to be strong.
This is probably one of those deals, we’ll be told sometime soon, where the numbers don’t tell us everything and that, really, in every way that matters, the sport is indeed doomed. Wait for it. You know it’ll come.
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.