SUNDAY: The Dinos have announced the move.
SATURDAY: NC Dinos of the KBO League have signed right-hander Jeff Manship, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports (via Twitter). Dan Kurtz of MyKBO.net reported earlier this week that the two sides were in the process of working out a deal. Terms of the contract weren’t announced. Manship is represented by the Boras Corporation.
Manship posted a 3.12 ERA, 7.5 K/9, 51.1% grounder rate and 1.64 K/BB rate over 43 1/3 innings out of the Indians bullpen last year, plus 2 1/3 scoreless innings for the Tribe during their postseason run. This came on the heels of an eye-popping 2015 season in Cleveland when Manship posted a minuscule 0.92 ERA over 39 1/3 relief innings.
Despite his impressive work in an Indians uniform, the Tribe non-tendered Manship before his first stint through the arbitration process. (MLBTR’s Matt Swartz projected Manship to earn $1.2MM.) Manship’s numbers over his first six seasons prior to his arrival in Cleveland were unimpressive, and advanced metrics indicated that he may have been fortunate to deliver the results that he did last year. ERA indicators — 5.11 FIP, 4.81 xFIP, 4.53 SIERA — were much higher than Manship’s actual 3.12 ERA, and his .266 BABIP and 80.5% strand rate counteracted quite a bit of hard contact allowed by the right-hander; only 22.1% of contact allowed by Manship last season was of the soft variety, as per Fangraphs.
You’d still imagine that a 2.07 ERA and 50.6% grounder rate over the last two seasons would catch the attention of at least one MLB team, though Manship will instead head to the notoriously hitter-friendly KBO. It’s quite possible that the crowded bullpen market led to Manship’s decision. MLBTR’s Free Agent Tracker lists over three dozen relievers and starter-turned-reliever arms still on the open market.