Robbie Ray

Baseball is designed to break your heart: Example 10,246,893

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Obviously there is still a lot of baseball left to play. And if I had to bet, I’d bet that the Detroit Tigers are going to be just fine. But the past two weeks has to convince Tigers fans that, yes, there are Baseball Gods. And that they are not benevolent. Indeed, they’re like the gods of Greek mythology who seem to enjoy toying with mortals.

Less than two weeks ago the Tigers traded for David Price, giving them a rotation consisting of the last three Cy Young Award winners, last year’s ERA champion and a kid in Rick Porcello who is having as good or better a season than all of them. The big question on everyone’s mind was how to fit all of those starters into the Tigers’ playoff rotation, with said playoffs being inevitable.

Flash forward: the Tigers started Robbie Ray last night. They are starting a guy named “Buck Farmer” today. If you had said “Buck Farmer” to me a couple of days ago I would have said it was either the name of a second tier porn star or the name Justin Verlander uses to check into hotels without being noticed. Meanwhile, two starters the Tigers considered superfluous — Doug Fister and Drew Smyly — spun gems for their new teams in the past 48 hours.

This isn’t an indictment of any move the Tigers have made. No one would choose Smyly over Price and not having Fister around did not hurt the Tigers until very recently. And obviously no one can predict injuries. It’s merely to note how damn fast everything can change in baseball and how things you thought were sure things one moment become something far less than sure the next.

It sucks to be reminded of this when it happens to your team. And no one wants injuries to happen. But in a cosmic sense, the quick turn of fortune that can happen in this game is one of baseball’s most exciting phenomenons.

Report: Tim Lincecum is not ready for retirement

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 29:  Tim Lincecum #55 of the Los Angeles Angels during the second inning of the game against the Boston Red Sox at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 29, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
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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.

Report: Jeff Manship signs with NC Dinos

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 01:  Jeff Manship #53 of the Cleveland Indians throws a pitch during the sixth inning against the Chicago Cubs in Game Six of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 1, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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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.