UPDATE: No. No the Reds will not be inviting Mr. Manship to Spring Training because, according to Zach Buchanan over at the Enquirer, Manship did not pass his physical. The Reds made up for this non-signing today by inking INF Cliff Pennington to a minor league deal.
It was a bit of a long shot that Manship would’ve made the team with any meaningful role this year (as I note below), but it’s interesting nonetheless. The guy threw 112 innings of seemingly healthy ball (as a starter, no less) in Korea so... what the hell did he do to that arm?
The Reds added a signing of the minor-league type this evening, bringing in former Cleveland Indian and, most recently, NC Dino (of the Korean baseball variety) Jeff Manship, according SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (and his sources).
Source: Reds sign righty Jeff Manship to minor-league deal. Interesting three years for him: posted 2.07 ERA in 82.2 relief innings for Cleveland in 2015-16, then went to Korea for 2017 and had 3.67 ERA in 21 starts.— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) February 7, 2018
Digging into those Cleveland numbers a bit, Manship was phenomenal in his first 39.1 IP in Cleveland which spanned the 2015 season. His 0.92 ERA was good for a 473 ERA+ that season with a 0.763 WHIP and a 3.30 SO/W ratio.
2016 was less good but still generated decent results, with a 3.12 ERA (1.46 ERA+), but was supported (unsupported?) with a 5.11 FIP. His BB/9 doubled from the previous year (2.3 to 4.6). That tenuous walk rate (and Cleveland’s generally strong bullpen) probably helped the Indians make the decision to non-tender Manship after the season.
From there, Manship went to the KBO, where he started 21 games, pitching 112.2 innings of 3.67 ERA, 1.290 WHIP ball. All of those innings were as a starter; Manship hasn’t appears as a starter in an MLB game since 2013 when he played for the Rockies.
All that is to say that this signing would seem to be another move to potentially bolster a bullpen that has been historically bad over the last two seasons. I mean, I can’t say with any certainty that the Reds couldn’t look at Manship as a potential spot starter/swingman in the coming season. But, if the Reds find themselves featuring Manship in the rotation in a meaningful way in 2018, well, this team likely has a lot of problems.