Tag: Tim Lincecum

Tim Lincecum Designated for Assignment by Angels: Latest Details and Reaction

The Los Angeles Angels designated starting pitcher Tim Lincecum for assignment Saturday, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reported.

Lincecum started nine games for the Angels, recording a 2-6 record with a career-worst 9.16 ERA. 

Angels manager Mike Scioscia spoke with the media about the decision, per Moura: “It’s very clear now that he hasn’t progressed from his first couple starts. He’s kind of regressed a little bit.”

Scioscia said he hoped Lincecum would accept an assignment to Triple-A, but Moura noted the pitcher “has the right to turn the assignment down and become a free agent, assuming he clears waivers.”

The 32-year-old started his Angels career in impressive fashion June 18, going six innings against the Oakland Athletics while allowing just one run on four hits.

In his following eight starts, he allowed three or more earned runs in each appearance, including a 1.1-inning effort against the Houston Astros on July 24 in which he allowed eight earned runs on seven hits. 

His latest start Friday night against the Seattle Mariners wasn’t much better, as the M’s tagged him for six runs and nine hits in 3.1 innings.

The writing was on the wall when Scioscia was asked if Lincecum would make another start after Friday’s game.

So, if you ask me right now, I could say yes,” the manager said, per Moura. “But, obviously, we have to sit down, review his video, see where the positives were, and see where we are.”

Lincecum began the season as a free agent while he recovered from the hip surgery he underwent in September.

It was an unceremonious ending to his time with the San Francisco Giants, a team he won a pair of Cy Young Awards with. He saw his play dramatically decrease over the past few seasons, as he compiled a 39-42 record from 2012 to 2015.

He threw 41 pitches in a May showcase for numerous MLB scouts in Arizona as he searched for a new home in the majors.

Given Lincecum’s struggles, he’ll likely go unclaimed on waivers. If that’s the case, he will have to hope another team is willing to give him a chance to prove he can rediscover the form that made him one of the best pitchers in the game five years ago.


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Tim Lincecum’s Latest Flop Is End of Once-Great Starting Career

It’s finally time to admit something that’s been increasingly apparent for five seasons now: Tim Lincecum is done as a major league starting pitcher.

For now, it sure seems like he’s started his last game for the Los Angeles Angels. Three months and nine starts after they took a flier on the two-time Cy Young winner with a pro-rated $2.5 million contract, the Angels aborted the Lincecum experiment Saturday afternoon:

The move takes the former San Francisco Giants ace off the Angels’ 40-man roster. There’s a possibility he’ll be traded, but the signs point to Lincecum clearing waivers and getting a choice between his release and a trip to the minor leagues. The Angels are hopeful for the latter.

“In order to get Tim to be that finished product of where we feel he can come up here and be a winning pitcher in the major leagues, it’s going to take some work,” said manager Mike Scioscia, per Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com. “We hope he’ll go to Triple-A and work on it and see how it progresses.”

However, it’ll take more than just some work to get Lincecum, 32, to where he needs to be. What he needs is more like a miracle.

Lincecum’s tenure with the Angels got off to a promising start, as he debuted with six one-run innings back on June 18. But the good vibes fell apart in his next outing, and a stinker against the Seattle Mariners on Friday was the last straw. When Lincecum was done giving up six runs in 3.1 innings, his ERA had risen to 9.16.

There’s no blaming bad luck for that ugly figure. In 38.1 innings, Lincecum balanced out 23 walks with only 32 strikeouts. He also surrendered 11 home runs. FanGraphs classified 41.3 percent of the balls hit off him as hard hit. He basically allowed the average batter to hit like Giancarlo Stanton.

So it goes for the artist formerly known as The Freak.

Lincecum’s career took a hard turn when he posted a 5.18 ERA in 2012, and what’s happened this year is just the latest in a series of failed course corrections. He’s put up a 4.94 ERA in his last 122 appearances and, per Baseball-Reference.com, accumulated minus-4.2 wins above replacement. By that measure, he’s been baseball’s least valuable pitcher.

Lincecum’s “decline,” if you can even call it that, was preceded by a sparkling 2.74 ERA in 2011. That was the latest in a four-year stretch of success that included National League Cy Youngs in 2008 and 2009, earning him a solid spot among the top five pitchers in the sport.

But by now, it’s no secret what’s at the heart of Lincecum’s downfall. He lost two miles per hour in average fastball velocity from 2011 to 2012, and the trend continued downward in 2013, 2014 and 2015. This eradicated Lincecum’s margin for error and turned him into a nibbler.

The one silver lining of his 2016 season is he did gain back some velocity. He went from an average of 87.2 mph in 2015 to an average of 87.7 this year.

A fastball like that still isn’t going to cut it without pinpoint control, however, and Lincecum’s has remained anything but pinpoint. During his peak, he walked 3.2 batters per nine innings. He’s averaged 4.0 walks per nine since then, peaking at 5.4 per nine this year.

If the Angels really are hoping Lincecum will go down to Triple-A and figure out how to be a competent starting pitcher again, they’re kidding themselves. For that to happen, he either needs more velocity or better control. Five years’ worth of data says not to count on it.

Rather, the best hope for Lincecum is one Mike Axisa of CBS Sports highlights: “I imagine a club will be willing to try Lincecum as a reliever at some point, hoping he could regain some effectiveness while pitching in short bursts and only having to go through the lineup one time.”

This idea has been on the table ever since Lincecum dazzled in a few relief appearances in the 2012 postseason. It is still appealing to some degree. He probably doesn’t have any more mid-90s fastballs in him, but a relief role might allow him to at least touch 90 consistently. 

It’s doubtful any team would hand Lincecum a relief role, though. Be it this year or next year, whatever chance he finds will likely come in the form of a minor league contract.

It’s a good question whether Lincecum would even be interested in such a role. It’s a route he could have pursued as he was working his way back from offseason hip surgery this year, but he was adamant about latching on to a team as a starter.

“I know I’ve been working my butt off with pitch counts, working off that five-day rotation to try to elongate myself as a pitcher and as a starter,” he said after a May showcase (via Chris Cole of USA Today).

Plus, it’s not like Lincecum needs the work. He’s raked in nearly $100 million in his major league career. That’s enough to get through life.

If this proves to be the end, there’s more than just money to vouch for Lincecum’s career. He’s one of 17 pitchers who have won multiple Cy Youngs. He’s also one of only 34 pitchers to toss multiple no-hitters, accomplishing that in 2013 and 2014. There’s also no forgetting the fact he owns one of the best postseason pitching performances in history. Or his three World Series rings, for that matter.

That’s a lot of good memories for a career that’s spanned only 10 seasons. If this is the end for Lincecum, he has nothing to be ashamed of.


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted/linked.

Follow zachrymer on Twitter

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Tim Lincecum’s ‘Freak’ Days Are Over, but His Career Still Has Life

One year, one hip surgery, six-and-a-half months on the open market and three minor league starts since the last time he toed a major league mound, Tim Lincecum sent a message Saturday:

The Freak lives.

The Los Angeles Angels signed Lincecum last month hoping the veteran right-hander could be a pick-me-up for their injury-battered starting rotation. He was just that in his debut Saturday afternoon at the Oakland Coliseum. The former San Francisco Giants ace spear-headed a 7-1 win over the A’s with six innings of one-run ball, in which he allowed only four hits with two walks and two strikeouts.

After so many years of watching Lincecum in orange and black on the other side of the bay, it was a bit weird to see him mowing down hitters while garbed all in red. Unless you ask him, of course.

“I don’t think it looks weird,” said the 32-year-old of his new threads after the game, via Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area. “I think it looks pretty good.”

At any rate, maybe the best thing to be said about Lincecum’s debut is it was often easy to forget he was even pitching. Whereas the A’s cycled through seven pitchers in the process of giving up seven runs—one of which came on a long home run off the bat of Mike Trout—Lincecum put in a quiet, workman-like performance light on drama.

At the least, this is a good first impression for a guy the Angels are hoping can be a $2 million steal. At best, it’s the start of a renaissance in which Lincecum will more closely resemble his 2008-2011 self than his 2012-2015 self.

In case anyone needs a refresher on how the two compare, here are the numbers:

The first four full seasons of Lincecum’s career netted him two National League Cy Youngs and cemented him as one of the best pitchers in baseball. After that, he turned into one of the worst pitchers in baseball.

The primary culprit for Lincecum’s collapse is the velocity he lost. After sitting in the low- to mid-90s with his fastball earlier in his career, he sat around 90 between 2012 and 2014 and then in the high 80s last season. By the time he made his last start for the Giants on June 27 last year, there wasn’t much hope his velocity would bounce back.

Which brings us to the good news.

There were reports of Lincecum showing improved velocity when he held a showcase for prospective buyers in early May. It turns out that wasn’t a one-time thing. According to Brooks Baseball, Lincecum’s release speed with his four-seamer and sinker sat in the 89-90 range Saturday. That’s up from the 88-89 range he occupied last season. He also sprinkled in some 90s and 91s to boot.

That may not be vintage velocity, but at least it’s better velocity. It’s also velocity he’s comfortable with.

“I’m not going to be the guy throwing 93, 94, 95 [mph] anymore,” he said ahead of Saturday’s start, via Mark Chiarelli of MLB.com. “I have to spot my fastball and trust the movement. I think that’s where I’m at, trusting I can get outs with 88-92.”

To the naked eye, Lincecum’s fastball command wasn’t terrible Saturday. He did an especially good job of staying out of the sweet spot against Oakland’s left-handed batters, and his mistakes were mostly good (read: non-hittable) mistakes.

Meanwhile, Lincecum’s money pitch did its job. No pitch has done more damage in his career than his changeup, and ESPN Stats and Information can vouch it was out in force against the A’s:

Lest anyone get too excited, however, Lincecum’s debut offers some nits to pick.

Although his fastball command wasn’t terrible, it’s hard to say it was good. Fastballs that hit their marks and fastballs that missed their marks were probably in equal supply, particularly in a third inning in which he allowed two hits, walked a guy and hit another guy.

In light of this, it’s not surprising only 60.2 percent (59 of 98) of Lincecum’s pitches went for strikes. In relation to his average of 61.8 percent between 2012 and 2015, that’s not a great sign.

It didn’t help that Lincecum got swings and misses on only seven of 98 pitches. That’s 7.1 percent, well below his career rate of 11.0. Between that and his spotty command, he wasn’t harder to hit than his two strikeouts would indicate.

As such, there’s no escaping the notion that Lincecum’s effectiveness Saturday might have had something to do with the opposition. He was facing an A’s team that entered the day ranked 13th in the American League in runs and OPS. Overcoming them isn’t the best litmus test.

Still, the Angels’ 30-38 record puts them in a position to take whatever positive signs they can get. Lincecum’s improved velocity and good-as-ever changeup will do nicely. And even if his fastball command doesn’t get better, he might get by as long as he continues to avoid making bad mistakes.

If Lincecum continues to pitch well, the interesting question is how it will benefit the Angels. If everything comes together just right, he may help them mount a charge up the AL West standings. If that fails, though, he could be a useful piece of trade bait come late July.

This remains to be seen. All we know for now is that we’ve seen Lincecum’s first start in an Angels uniform, and it was good enough to warrant more. Maybe he’s no longer the Freak of old, but he’s not done yet simply being the Freak.


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted/linked.

Follow zachrymer on Twitter 

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Tim Lincecum Makes Angels Debut: Stats, Highlights and Reaction

Two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum made his 2016 debut Saturday with the Los Angeles Angels, holding the Oakland Athletics to one run on four hits in six innings in a 7-1 victory. 

Lincecum hadn’t pitched in a game since June 27, 2015, when he lasted just 1.2 innings for the San Francisco Giants in a start against the Colorado Rockies. He was diagnosed with a degenerative hip condition last year that required surgery and ended his season. 

The Angels, whose starting rotation has been decimated by injuries to Garrett Richards, Andrew Heaney and C.J. Wilson, signed Lincecum to a one-year deal on May 20. 

In working his way back to the big leagues, Lincecum’s velocity was a big question mark. He averaged just 87.5 mph with his fastball last season, per FanGraphs. There was a little more steam on the pitch Saturday, per Jay Posner of the San Diego Union-Tribune:

That’s where Lincecum is going to sit at this point in his career, as Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register noted the 32-year-old was throwing his fastball 88-91 mph in a start at Triple-A on June 7:

MLB GIFs showed Lincecum’s unique delivery is still intact:

Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times noted Lincecum’s six-inning performance went much better than his last six innings with the Giants:

The lone run Lincecum gave up came on an RBI single from Danny Valencia in the bottom of the third inning.

This wasn’t a vintage performance for the hurler who won back-to-back Cy Youngs in 2008 and 2009, but it was about as good an effort as he can give at this stage. 

The Angels signed him hoping for a starting pitcher capable of giving them five solid innings each outing. Lincecum delivered more than that Saturday, albeit against an A’s lineup that entered play ranked 25th in runs scored. 

Not every start is going to go this well for Lincecum. He still has command issues and doesn’t miss many bats, but against below-average lineups his stuff will work more often than it fails. 

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Tim Lincecum Comments on Timeline for 1st Start with Angels

Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tim Lincecum is bound to make his debut with the club soon enough, but he said Tuesday he’ll have one more outing for the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees before returning to the MLB level.

FanDuel’s Jessica Kleinschmidt provided the update from Lincecum on his future:   

Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reported Tuesday the Angels will decide within “the next day or two” who their starting pitcher will be for Sunday’s road game against the Oakland Athletics.

The 31-year-old veteran pitched five innings in his first start for Salt Lake, yielding three hits, three earned runs and three walks to go with five strikeouts, per MiLB.com.

It’s therefore understandable he’d want to get more competitive reps under his belt before making his opening start for the Angels. However, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez pointed out how Lincecum showed marked improvement in his second Triple-A outing on Tuesday:

Lincecum was a two-time National League Cy Young Award winner with the San Francisco Giants and was a part of three World Series championship teams. Unfortunately, degenerative hip issues that required surgery last September caused his form to fall off in recent years.

There’s no getting around the fact Los Angeles is in dire need of help in its starting pitching rotation, though.

Nick Tropeano became the fifth Angels starter to be currently dealing with an injury when he went on the disabled list Saturday with shoulder tightness.

The circumstances may well have Lincecum on the fast track to the big leagues without other experienced options for L.A. to plug in. If Lincecum is healthy, he could provide a desperately needed spark to the Angels staff.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Tim Lincecum to Angels: Latest Contract Details and Reaction

Two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum has signed with the Los Angeles Angels, as the team announced, per Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.

Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported Thursday it will be a $2.5 million deal with another $1.7 million in incentives.

“To sign a contract with the Angels meant the world to me,” Lincecum said, per Shaikin.

“Success will be being healthy at the end of this season, and seeing where I am after that,” Lincecum added, per Shaikin.

Lincecum, 31, went 7-4 with a 4.13 ERA, 1.48 WHIP and 60 strikeouts in 15 starts and 76.1 innings pitched in 2015 for the San Francisco Giants

The former star was one of the finest pitchers in all of baseball from 2008 to 2011 and was a key contributor to the team’s three World Series titles since 2010. But in recent years he’s been mediocre, a far cry from the dominant pitcher he had been.

His 2015 season was cut short after he required surgery on his left hip, but despite that setback, Lincecum doesn’t plan on calling it quits anytime soon.

“To be honest, I feel like I could pitch for a good five or six more years until I can’t anymore at this point,” he told Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com in early May. “I’m nowhere near that point.”

Angels general manager Billy Eppler said Lincecum should need 20 to 30 days in the minor leagues and will throw a simulated game on Monday, per Shaikin.

“He’ll tell us when he’s ready,” Eppler added, per Shaikin. “He’s earned that.”

A change of scenery might be just the thing for Lincecum, though at this point in his career, it seems unlikely he’ll ever be a Cy Young candidate again. Still, he gives the Angels a veteran presence on the mound and a pitcher capable of either giving a team decent innings at the back end of the rotation or sliding into the bullpen as a long reliever. 

Add in his extensive postseason experience, and Lincecum’s signing should bolster the Angels’ pitching staff. 

Los Angeles currently sits 18-22 and has had trouble finding consistency in its starting rotation. The team currently is tied for 22nd in quality starts (16) and ranks below league average in ERA, WHIP and batting average against. 

The team lost Andrew Heaney to season-ending surgery after one start, and Garrett Richards went down with a UCL tear earlier this month. If Lincecum can even be an average MLB starter, he’s going to be a huge boost to a staff in desperate need of help.


Follow TRappaRT on Twitter

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Tim Lincecum and the Angels Are an Ideal Match of Need, Opportunity

On today’s episode of “Things That Were Meant to Be,” we have the Los Angeles Angels and Tim Lincecum.

A deal between the Angels and the two-time Cy Young Award winner had been in the air for a few days and is now complete. As reported by MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, Lincecum is heading to Anaheim on a modest contract:

That’s the prorated calculation of Lincecum’s salary. With the 2016 season about a quarter of the way done, his real pay is more like $2 million plus whatever incentives he makes.

At any rate, the attraction is obvious. For Lincecum, this deal is a lifeline to an extended major league career. For the Angels, it’s a roll of the dice they had every reason to make.

When the 31-year-old right-hander held a showcase for teams in early May, Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reported there were representatives for more than 20 teams in attendance. Any one of them could have signed the former San Francisco Giant, who’s coming off season-ending hip surgery. That includes the Giants themselves, whose starting rotation has been weighed down by Jake Peavy and Matt Cain.

But nobody really needed to take a flier on Lincecum like the Angels did. As Jeff Sullivan put it at FanGraphs: “The Angels are obvious because they’re out west, because their rotation sucks, and because they’re somewhere around the fringes of the race.”

Pretty much. The Angels’ 18-22 record puts them in fourth place in the AL West, but only five games out of first and four games away from a wild-card spot. Their rotation has a 4.61 ERA that’s not good, but which almost manages to sound pleasant in light of other circumstances.

Namely, injuries. Garrett Richards and Andrew Heaney might be done for the year. C.J. Wilson is still working his way back from a bad shoulder. Tyler Skaggs is on the comeback trail from Tommy John surgery, but it’s turned into a bumpy ride.

If the Angels are really lucky, Lincecum will step in and regain the form that made him one of baseball’s top pitchers between 2008 and 2011. Their best hope, though, is not getting the Lincecum who was one of baseball’s worst pitchers between 2012 and 2015.

All the Angels have to go off of for now is what Lincecum demonstrated in his showcase. And from that, there’s only so much to take away.

It’s no secret that velocity was at the heart of Lincecum’s downfall. After sitting in the low to mid-90s in his four-year stretch of dominance, his fastball velocity tumbled like so:

  • 2012: 90.4 mph
  • 2013: 90.2 mph
  • 2014: 89.6 mph
  • 2015: 87.2 mph

The effectiveness of Lincecum’s fastball suffered accordingly. According to Baseball Savant, hitters hit .262 with a .379 slugging percentage against his heat between 2008 and 2011. They hit .284 with a .442 slugging percentage against it between 2012 and 2015.

Knowing this, it would have been great to see him light up the radar gun at his showcase. Instead, Sanchez reported that Lincecum sat 90-91 in his first throwing session and 89-90 in the second.

Either velocity range is an improvement over where Lincecum was last season, but that would be more encouraging if 2015 were the only bad year he was trying to put behind him. The Angels must therefore hope against hope that the velocity he showcased was only a starting point. With more reps, perhaps it can climb to where it was in his heyday.

What’s more likely is that Lincecum will once again be forced to try to downplay his diminished velocity with good command. It so happens that’s where the man himself was really encouraged by his showcase.

“I’m happy. I was able to throw strikes on my pitches, stay within myself. I commanded all of my pitches,” Lincecum said. “I only had a couple misses, and they weren’t [over the] middle of the plate, so that’s encouraging for me.”

Good command could cure as many of Lincecum’s ills as good fastball velocity. At worst, it could prevent him from walking nearly four batters per nine innings like he did between 2012 and 2015. At best, it could erase the many mistake pitches that contributed to him averaging a home run per game in that span.

But for now, this is not something to be taken for granted. Lincecum didn’t specialize in pounding the strike zone between 2012 and 2015. He specialized even less in hitting spots. It’ll take more than a showcase for him to prove that he’s ready to change these ways.

To make a long story short, “Who knows?” is the best answer for what Lincecum might do for the Angels. There’s a chance they’ll get a veteran pitcher who’s found some velocity and learned to throw strikes. It’s more likely, though, that they’ll get something similar to his 2012-2015 self. 

What’s true regardless, however, is that the man himself could have chosen much worse teams and much worse places to silence all of the smarmy skeptics [winks] out there. Breaking into the Angels rotation will not require a long, uphill climb. And once Lincecum gets there, he’ll have two distinct advantages.

Angel Stadium of Anaheim is one of the most pitcher-friendly ballparks in the American League, if not the friendliest. Though it’s still somewhat early to be looking at such things, the Angels defense began Thursday ranked fourth in defensive runs saved. And as scary as it may sound that Lincecum is about to take on American League lineups, AL offenses aren’t actually performing better than NL offenses.

If Lincecum can make the most of his comeback attempt, he’ll be a wanted man on the winter free-agent market. Considering that said market is perilously short on talented arms, he could even be a very wanted man.

He has a lot to prove before he gets to that point. But for now, he’s at least taken care of the first step of getting a chance to do so.


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted/linked.

Follow zachrymer on Twitter 

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Tim Lincecum Rumors: Updated List of Interested Teams Revealed

The Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Angels and San Francisco Giants are the three teams most interested in potentially adding Tim Lincecum, according to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.

Lincecum won a pair of Cy Young Awards and three World Series rings in nine seasons in San Francisco. However, the Giants are not interested in returning the 31-year-old to the starting rotation, per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman:

From 2008 to 2011, Lincecum was one of the game’s top arms. Only once in that time frame did he finish a season with an ERA over 3.00.

His career turned sour in the following years. He maintained an ERA well over 4.00 from 2012 to 2015 while compiling a mediocre record of 39-42.

After spending spring training and the duration of this season unemployed, Lincecum will not be immediately ready to make an impact in the eyes of the San Francisco Chronicle‘s Henry Schulman:

Per ESPN.com, the Giants (13th) and Angels (17th) are in the middle of the pack when it comes to team ERA. They could use some reinforcements on the mound to help push them back into the postseason.

The White Sox have the fifth-best team ERA in the majors, which means Lincecum would face less pressure to produce right away in Chicago. With the team leading the American League Central, Lincecum would provide championship experience to a franchise that has not made the playoffs since 2008.

Lincecum’s best days may be behind him, but he is still a viable option as a low-risk, high-reward addition. If he can even partly resemble what he once was, he will be a bargain should someone decide to pick him up. 


All statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference unless otherwise noted. 

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Tim Lincecum Comments on Hip Injury, Future in MLB, More

Former San Francisco Giants pitcher and current free agent Tim Lincecum will try to prove to representatives from more than 20 MLB teams that his surgically repaired hip is healthy during a throwing session Friday, per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.

After going 33-12 over a two-year stretch with two Cy Young Awards in 2008 and 2009, Lincecum’s last four years have seen him go 39-42 with an ERA worse than 4.00 in each season before he underwent hip surgery in September.

The hype is building, though, thanks to Lincecum’s father telling Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports that his son’s curveball is “the best curveball I’ve seen in four years.”

On Wednesday, Lincecum spoke with Passan about the injury that nagged him throughout his struggles:

I didn’t know which days were gonna be the good days and which were gonna be the bad ones. Some days my hip would bite at me. Some days it would be fine. But I didn’t have a lot of stability and strength in it. I wasn’t able to sustain the end of my motion, when my foot hit. It felt very erratic, very wild. It didn’t feel like much of a drive. It felt like I was jumping. That’s where I lost it all. The power was lost in my legs, and it didn’t drive through my hips, my mid-back and up into my shoulder. I was throwing a lot with my arm. 

Even with that uncertainty, he managed to go 7-4 with a 4.13 ERA in 2015 before shutting down for the year, though there were certain moments when the injury flared up:

Eight months after surgery, Lincecum is ready to get back to baseball, though he told Passan that he would “need a few minor league starts to acclimate himself to live games before he’s ready for the major leagues.”

Though many teams may be interested, there is a chance that he’ll return to San Francisco, as he told Passan: “Where I end up is where I’ll end up. [The Giants] already have six starters. I’ve got to just look out for me, and if they’re the No. 1 piece in the puzzle when it comes down to decision time, I’ll be excited to go back.”

If Lincecum is able to show off a fastball that reaches 90-plus mph with a dynamic curveball, he may see some offers from teams that are looking for help in their rotations. 


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Tim Lincecum’s Comeback Could Be Well-Timed Coup for MLB Contender

Like Sasquatch, Jimmy Hoffa or Luke Skywalker in that new Star Wars movie, Tim Lincecum is an enigma. A myth. A phantom shrouded in mystery.

We know he’s recovering from offseason hip surgery. We know he’s a free agent. And we know he’s been throwing regularly, far from the prying eyes of scouts and media types.

We’ve also been hearing for months that the two-time National League Cy Young winner will hold a showcase for prospective suitors. Here’s the most recent update, courtesy of MLB Network’s Jon Heyman:

We’ve seen that “expected soon” line before, so don’t hold your breath. At some point, though, The Freak will surface. He’ll hurl baseballs. And if he looks like even a fraction of his former self, he could provide a significant early-season boost for a pitching-hungry MLB contender.

Before we dive into that, let’s recount some recent history.

Once upon a time, not so long ago, Lincecum was the most feared pitcher in the game, a tightly wound coil of flowing locks and filthy stuff who eclipsed 200 strikeouts and 200 innings in every season between 2008 and 2011 for the San Francisco Giants.

With his whiplash-inducing mechanics and slender build, there was always a question of how long Lincecum would last. The answer came beginning in 2012, as his dominance crumbled and his ERA ballooned.

Lincecum occasionally showed flashes of his bygone glory, twirling no-hitters against the San Diego Padres in 2013 and 2014 and making memorable appearances out of the bullpen during the Giants’ 2012 World Series run.

But his decline was as steady as it was steep. The last time he posted an ERA under 4.00 was 2011. Then came this winter’s hip surgery, which is both a red flag and a source of hope.

Here’s what Lincecum’s surgeon, Dr. Marc Philippon, said after performing the procedure, per Heyman:

I think it’s going to help tremendously to regain the velocity on his pitches and the (control) of them. If you cannot control the hips – that’s what generates the power – it’s difficult to get full motion.

Every pitcher is different. In his style of pitching he uses the hips a lot. We’re going to make sure he returns perfectly balanced.

That part about regaining velocity is the key. In 2011, Lincecum’s average fastball was 92.2 mph, per FanGraphs. By 2015, that number had slipped to 87.5 mph.

Speed isn’t everything. But combine diminished zip with frequently wonky command and suddenly Lincecum’s secondary pitches—including his once-devastating changeup—became far less effective.

Lincecum won’t magically revert back to the pitcher who won all of that hardware. That’s too far for even the rosiest optimist. But the idea he could be an above-average No. 4 or No. 5 starter at age 31? That feels plausible.

If and when the long-promised showcase happens, expect nearly every team to at least take a peek.

In January, Heyman (who has become the unofficial Lincecum beat reporter) highlighted the Padres and Miami Marlins as two potential landing spots.

Really, though, Lincecum makes the most sense for a legit contender (sorry, Pads and Fish fans). Even if he melts eyeballs in his showcase, he’ll undoubtedly sign a one-year, incentive-laden deal with the goal of building his value for a bigger payday next winter.

The Baltimore Orioles were reportedly interested in Lincecum in February, and their starting rotation remains an unsettled mess, particularly with free-agent addition Yovani Gallardo on the disabled list.

However, as yours truly opined, Lincecum would be wise to stay far away from the hitter-friendly American League Eastand possibly the unfamiliar, designated-hitter-loaded Junior Circuit in general.

That’s what makes the Padres and Petco Park so attractive. There’s another NL West squad with questions at the back end of its rotation, however, and it happens to be the only franchise Lincecum has ever known.

Yes, the Giants’ starting five is set, with ace Madison Bumgarner joined by pricey offseason pickups Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija, and veteran right-handers Matt Cain and Jake Peavy.

Cain and Peavy, however, have wobbled, yielding a combined 31 runs in 42 innings. And sophomore sinkerballer Chris Heston, the ostensible No. 6 man, was recently optioned to Triple-A.

If Lincecum wants a guaranteed starting role, San Francisco may not be the place. But, based on Heyman‘s note about him using the Giants’ Arizona facilities in his recovery, he’s clearly still on good terms with his ex-employer.

Grant Brisbee of McCovey Chronicles threw a wet blanket on the notion of a Lincecum/Giants reunion, noting that, “Lincecum knows that he can make more money next offseason as a starter, and he also probably prefers the role. It’s familiar. So for him to circle all the way back to the Giants, something has to change.”

It’s a fair point. Then again, Timmy doing Timmy things in the orange and black would be a perfect dose of even-year nonsense.

For any other club with playoff aspirations, landing something approaching vintage Lincecum on an inexpensive, one-year pact would be a well-timed coup.

For now, Lincecum’s destination remains as mysterious as, well, everything else about him.

Eventually, the spring’s biggest enigma will emerge from the shadows. The question is: Unlike Sasquatch, Luke Skywalker and the ghost of Jimmy Hoffa, will he be for real?


All statistics current as of April 26 and courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and MLB.com unless otherwise noted.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress