What Can We Expect from 2018’s MLB Comeback Kids and Extreme Veterans?

As you may be aware, former Giants ace SP Tim Lincecum has signed a one-year deal to make a comeback bid with the Rangers. This got me thinking about what other players are attempting comebacks this year as well as extreme veterans like Bartolo Colón and Ichiro Suzuki who are hoping to continue their big-league careers. Will they continue to have success, go gentle into that good night or take a page from Carlos Zambrano’s book?

 

Let’s take a look at the prospects for some of our favorite old faces.

  1. Bartolo Colón

After 20 big-league seasons, “Big Sexy” has signed a one-year minor-league deal with the Texas Rangers. He will earn US$1.75 million if added to the 40-man roster after Spring Training. So far, Colón has made four Spring Training appearances with a 4.26 ERA. As there are apparently a couple of open slots in the Texas rotation and Colón pitched well during his first three Spring Training games, we may blessed with another year of Big Sexy. Baseball Reference has projected him to go 9-10 with 150 IP, which might be all Texas is looking for at the back end of the rotation.

2. John Lackey

2017 was Lackey’s last season with the Cubs, as they were uninterested in resigning the 39 year-old SP. Back in November, it was reported that he was not retiring and was planning to return for the 2018 season. He remains unsigned as of this writing. Lackey has a been a workhorse during his 15 years in the big leagues, with three World Series championships, a 188-147 record and a respectable 3.92 ERA, averaging 216 IP per season. Since it seems like the Rangers’ rotation is up in the air, I suggest the native Texan should give them a call if he wants to head back to the mound in 2018.

3. Tim Lincecum

Since the Rangers have a lot of openings on the pitching staff, they seem to be willing to give just about anybody a shot and have signed former Giants SP and two-time Cy Young honoree Tim Lincecum to a US$1 million contract in his bid to make a comeback after missing the 2017 season. He has yet to make any Spring Training appearances for the Rangers as of March 21 and is expected to miss Opening Day. During his most recent MLB season in 2016, he made only 9 appearances for the Angels, going 2-6 with a 9.16 ERA on just 38.1 IP. There are no projections for 2018 available on Baseball Reference. It’s anybody’s guess what role he will play for Texas, but those following the team expect he will be transitioning to the pen and possibly taking over the closer role provided he remains healthy and can hit the zone.

 

4. Ichiro Suzuki

Last, but far from least, is Ichiro Suzuki. Long-time MLB fans were excited to hear the 44 year-old outfielder signed a one-year contract to return to Seattle after spending 11 full seasons and one partial season with the club, being the second player ever to win Rookie of the Year and MVP the same year. The veteran Japanese star has stated he wishes to continue playing baseball until he is “at least 50.” During his 17 MLB seasons, he has an average slash line of .312/.355/.403 with ten 200+ hit seasons and a total of 3,080 hits, guaranteeing his place in the Hall of Fame.  Although Ichiro was not an everyday player during his tenure in Miami, he is expected to play left field for an injury-riddled Mariners team lacking depth in the outfield. Baseball Reference has projected 344 plate appearances with a slash line of .246/.309/.337 for 2018.

Feel free to leave a comment about which old faces you’re looking forward to seeing in 2018 or shoot a tweet to @farnorthsider!

Image: Alan C. Heison / Shutterstock.com