Making Sense of the Tim Lincecum Rumors

(Mandatory Credit: Matt York/AP)

In case you haven’t heard the most recent rumblings, the Dodgers had representatives in Seattle today to view a showcase of righty pitcher Tim Lincecum, who sat out all of the 2017 season after his attempted comeback in 2016 essentially failed.

According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, there were at least 10 teams in attendance on Thursday, headlined by the Dodgers, Yankees and Red Sox. Other clubs believed to be on-hand for the workout were the Rangers, Tigers, Brewers, Padres, Orioles, Phillies and the Giants.

The 33-year-old Lincecum has 10 big league seasons under is belt, nine of which came with the Giants. Career-wise, he has tallied a 110-89 record with a 3.74 ERA and a 3.45 FIP over 1682 innings of work. A four-time All-Star and three-time World Series Champion, Lincecum is perhaps best known around the NL West for his no-hitters against the Padres in 2013 and 2014.

After major hip surgery in 2015, he made a comeback during the 2016 campaign, signing a $2.5 million deal with the Angels. But posted a disappointing 2-6 record over nine starts, compiling a 9.14 ERA and a 7.16 FIP over 38-1/3 innings thrown. In many of his outings, he fastball never even broke the 90 MPH threshold.

However, Lincecum has recently been working with Driveline Baseball, an acclaimed data-driven player development program, and current scouting reports have Lincecum’s four-seam now sitting in the low 90s. Heyman pointed out that although “Lincecum has always preferred to start in the past, seven of his 13 postseason appearances came in relief, and some teams may be considering him for a bullpen role.”

As far as the Dodgers go, it definitely didn’t hurt to have a look at the veteran, and it probably makes sense to even offer a minor league deal, despite the likelihood of not being competitive with an offer. The thought of Lincecum being able to enter a big league camp right away is ludicrous, but signing the veteran to bolster a rotation or bullpen at the Triple-A level could be beneficial. Seeing Lincecum play a role similar to what Justin Masterson accomplished at Oklahoma City last season would not be out of the realm of possibility, so long as he’d stay healthy.

As it stands now, the headliners of the OKC rotation figure to be Walker Buehler and Brock Stewart, with Wilmer Font conceivably joining the crew if he slips through the waiver cracks and finds a way to remain with the organization.

Minor league players will hold their first full-squad workout at Camelback Ranch on March 7.

7 thoughts on “Making Sense of the Tim Lincecum Rumors

  1. I’d be very surprised if Font slipped through waivers. Some other team would almost definitely take a chance on him. When Andrew was interviewed yesterday and asked who he saw behind the 5 starters, he specifically mentioned Stripling, Stewart and Font, while also giving mention to Buehler and Santana, but my impression was that he wasn’t expecting to see those two break camp with the team. If Font has a good spring I think we could definitely see him break camp with the team. With regard to Lincecum, I think that if he’s impressive enough for teams to offer him a contract the Giants would certainly have a spot for him and he would go there.

    1. I don’t even see them carrying an 8-man pen, much less making room for Font, especially with Utley needing a spot on the 25-man. Right now I have Kenley Jansen, Tom Koehler, Pedro Baez, Ross Stripling, Tony Cingrani, Josh Fields and Scott Alexander in the pen. Who do you see falling out? I don’t even see room for Yimi right off the top.

      1. I see Kenley, Koehler, Cingrani and Alexander as definite. I believe Baez and Stripling have options remaining and I don’t think they’re totally married to Fields. Font would have to be really terrific to make the team but if he was lights out I think they would find a way to keep him (or he would then make a good trade chip to a team like Baltimore who is searching for starters). Better to trade him than to put him on waivers, if at all possible. Fields would have to have a pretty poor spring to get rid of him since I don’t think he has options left, but I don’t think they would keep him if they felt they had better alternatives. They are really high on Yimi but I could see him starting the year at OKC. I’m assuming that if they see Stewart’s future as a starter, they’ll want him in the rotation at OKC to start the year. Then, of course, there is Liberatore, whom I think has 1 option remaining so he may also start the year at OKC. Lots of possible options here. It’s going to be interesting to see how it plays out.

  2. One other thing, I agree that they might start the year with only 7 guys in the pen, but I think that’s crazy because this starting staff has a hard time going beyond 5-6 innings. If you need your bullpen to go 3-4 innings on most nights, how the heck do you do that with a 7 man pen?

    1. It’s definitely gonna be interesting. I love Utley, but I’m still surprised he’s coming back when considering the true value of a spot on the 25-man. As for the starters having short outings early in the year—or for most of the year, like last season—I think that’s why they have guys like Strip and Koehler, to chew up innings in the middle. I’d say Yimi and Liberatore both start the year at OKC, and I still find it hard to make room for Font. But, like you said, if he’s lights out this spring, you gotta give him a chance. I’m guessing they already tried to package him up in a trade.

      1. I agree on Utley. I guess he convinced them that the only way they were going to get him was to allow him to play. I hope they have an understanding that if he simply doesn’t have it anymore he’ll stick around as a coach. I wonder if they’re thinking of Koehler more as a Stripling-like middle reliever who can chew up 2-3 innings at a time or as a potential 8th inning-type guy to replace Morrow. Time will tell.

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