Tim Lincecum, of the San Francisco Giants, is a free agent. Breaking news, huh?
I’ve read that both the Giants and Lincecum have interest in signing a new deal that would keep him in the Bay. While that may just be an eventuality – despite season-ending hip surgery – I think he’d be a good fit in Seattle. Maybe he’d even give the Mariners the old “hometown discount” when it comes to negotiating his yearly salary. Of course, there are some other reasons he could be signed on the cheap.
“The Freak” is now 32 years old and recovering from hip surgery. Hips are pretty important to a pitcher’s mechanics and ability to produce velocity. While Seattle fans with any memory long in the tooth might be reluctant to take on a pitcher with a hip issue (or history thereof), Lincecum does not appear to be the next Erik Bedard. In fact, the surgeon who repaired Lincecum’s torn labrum thinks he may be able to regain some velocity. That could be a big boost to a guy who topped out at around 88-89 mph this last season.
It’s doubtful that he’d be back up to 94-95 mph on his cheese, but even a 92-93 mph ceiling could create some nice separation from his 12-6 curve, which has often been a potent strikeout pitch for him (career-high whiff rate of 26.32% as recently as July 2014).
Okay, so the injury worries should be put to bed and he could return to pre-2012 form. Possibly.
Lincecum went 7-4 with a 4.13 ERA and 4.29 FIP in 2015. Not stellar numbers and a small sample size. That seems to be an advantage for the Mariners to get him to sign a team-friendly deal. I’m thinking maybe three years and $31 million. I’m sure you’re shaking your head in amazement. Am I insane? Maybe. Don’t forget that his atrocious performance from 2012 to 2014 should also lower his market value.
In those three seasons, “The Freak” wasn’t freaking out batters. Fantasy owners were going prematurely gray, though. He chipped in a -3.0 WAR and got two World Series rings in return. He piled up 38 losses in 91 starts and gave up just a hair over 1.0 HR/9. His strikeouts per nine innings declined from 9.2 to 7.7. None of these numbers give him and his agent leverage to shoot for a bigger deal.
So, could the Mariners get lucky and make an offer to bring Timmy back home? If so, they’d partially make up for the mistake of drafting Brandon Morrow with the fifth pick in the 2006 draft, five picks before Lincecum was selected.