Given that he posted a combined 2.07 ERA from 2015-16, right-handed reliever Jeff Manship’s decision to sign in Korea last week came as a surprise. However, Manship told Ben Lindbergh of The Ringer it was a “no-brainer” to head to the Korea Baseball Organization, where he’ll play for the NC Dinos.
“From what I had heard, a couple of the teams were only interested in minor league deals with spring training invites, and then a couple others were interested on a major league deal, it’s just nothing had happened yet,” said Manship, whom the Indians non-tendered last month.
Manship will make more in Korea than he did from 2009-16 in the majors, Lindbergh writes in a fascinating, highly recommended piece. As Lindbergh points out, Manship’s unappealing advanced statistics overshadowed the superb run prevention he displayed over the past couple seasons, thus leading to tepid MLB interest. In 2016, for instance, his FIP (5.11) was nearly two full runs worse than his ERA (3.12).
“I understand how they calculate [FIP], but sometimes I think at the end of the season … where people are still saying ‘Oh, well his ERA should have been this,’ but it wasn’t that, it was this …there are certain things that I kind of disagree with,” said Manship. “But at the same time, I do realize a lot of those advanced stats actually are great indicators.”
It also didn’t help Manship’s cause this offseason that he doesn’t throw particularly hard, but the Dinos are happy to welcome him. Team analyst Seonnam Lim and scout Steve Park had been eyeing Manship, 32, since his time as a Triple-A starter.
“When we first saw Jeff, we were not at a position where we could even discuss nor dream about scouting him, but Asian teams nowadays tend to pay much bigger money to foreign players, especially during this winter,” commented Lim.
Now for the latest on a couple of Manship’s former major league colleagues:
- After trading second baseman Logan Forsythe to the Dodgers earlier this week, the Rays are poised to shift Brad Miller from first base to the keystone, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. The 27-year-old actually has only slightly less big league experience at second than he does at first (37 games versus 39), and moving him will enable the Rays to take advantage of the glut of acceptable first base options left on the open market, notes Topkin.
- Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig’s demotion to Triple-A Oklahoma City last season “was not a good experience,” he told Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. Puig acknowledged that he was at fault for it, though, per Plunkett (Twitter links). As Puig looks to rebound in 2017, the 26-year-old has “leaned out” and “is in a great state of mind right now,” manager Dave Roberts informed Doug Padilla of ESPN.com.