With his showcase coming up soon, there seems to be a lot of interest in Tim Lincecum as a end-of-the-rotation starting pitcher. Specifically? The San Diego Padres are interested, and it seems the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals will be looking closely at the former Cy Young winner when he finally has the opportunity to show what kind of stuff and speed he still has.
It’s been awhile since Lincecum, a two-time Cy Young winner and someone who played a part (big or small) in three World Series titles for the San Francisco Giants, has been dominant. One of the more durable and power pitching players out there for a number of years, he’s velocity has dropped into the 80’s in the last couple of years, with his strikeout per nine innings dropping to 7.1 while his strikeout-per-walks looking even worse at 1.58 in 2015, when he played in just 15 games, posting a 4.13 ERA and pitching in 76.1 innings.
What about returning to the Giants? While the Giants have kept tabs on Lincecum, they won’t be offering him a role in the rotation, and it seems the relationship between the two sides, which began in 2008, is over. If he has no choice, Lincecum will take a bullpen role. Some teams, like the Chicago Cubs, love filling out that slot with former starters, but for now, Lincecum is hoping he gets a chance to start for a team, preferably without it involving a minor league contract.
The Padres need a starter and Lincecum could be a low-risk, low-pay, high reward kind of player. He is just 31 which puts him with an advantage compared to other free agents on the market. While it’s been quite a while since his dominant days, he’s probably the biggest name remaining for teams to try and sign, and the next few days will reveal just how many teams are looking into the opportunity of signing him, and whether or not there’s any life left in his MLB career.
Lincecum was one of the best pitchers in baseball from 2008-2011, making the All-Star game four times and winning the Cy Young twice. He had a 2.81 ERA with a 1.173 WHIP during that stretch while striking out 10 batters per nine innings. Since 2012 he hasn’t had a single season with over 200 innings, posting a 4.68 ERA, 1.402 WHIP and just 8.4 strikeouts per nine innings.