5 MLB Teams That Could Use Tim Lincecum
Tim Lincecum isn’t done with MLB just yet. The former two-time Cy Young winner and three-time World Series champ is expected to showcase his pitching in front of a number of MLB teams this Friday, in hopes of latching on with a new team for the remainder of the 2016 MLB season.
— MLB Trade Rumors (@mlbtraderumors) May 2, 2016
The 31-year old last pitched on June 27th due to a hip issue that eventually required surgery and ended his 2015 MLB season prematurely. He finished 2015 with a 7-4 record and a 4.13 ERA through 15 starts with the only team he’s ever known – the San Francisco Giants.
The man best known as “The Freak” has previously pushed back his comeback multiple times in the past year, but now appears fully ready to show what he can offer to prospective teams. The two big questions, of course, are just how much he can give to a potential playoff contender, and which teams would see him as a key piece to the puzzle for their pitching rotations.
It’s anyone’s guess just how good Lincecum can still be at a high level, but he still had his moments as recently as last season. Under the right circumstances, he could still prove to be a valuable starter. But where? Let’s look at five teams that could consider bringing him onto their roster for the rest of 2016:
San Francisco Giants
The Giants are the only MLB club The Freak has known during his career and this is where he’s had loads of success, but a problem remains: he wants to be a starter and the Giants would prefer to keep him in the bullpen.
San Francisco went out and got some lively arms in the off-season (namely Johnny Cueto), so there isn’t as much room for Lincecum as a starter as there was a year ago. We can’t rule out a return, though, as there has been interest from both sides. San Francisco remains a middling unit (13-3), but they could use a shot in the arm and the NL West is currently up for grabs. Worse decisions could be made by the Giants right now, while bumping down Jake Peavy or Matt Cain wouldn’t be a terrible idea.
There has been loose connection of Baltimore to Lincecum, and it makes sense because the Orioles have no ace in their rotation. The Orioles have a stable of mediocre pitchers (at best) and while Lincecum isn’t exactly an elite ace anymore, he’d certainly give their defense a lift.
Considering Baltimore’s beastly offense and a marquee role on a team that is currently competing for the AL East crown, this figures to be a fairly attractive option for The Freak.
Detroit (who will be one of the teams at Lincecum’s showcase) is another interesting spot, as they have been getting solid enough results out of their first few guys, but still could use a steady arm to round out the bottom of their starting rotation.
The Tigers aren’t that far behind the White Sox, but if they want to take over first place in the AL Central, they may need to tighten down even more on defense. Shoring up their pitching rotation should go a long way in accomplishing that.
Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays are supposed to be legit contenders to take down the AL East, but they’ve been a mixed bag all year due to a very bad defense. Suspect defense will do that to you, especially when you lose David Price to the Red Sox. It’s more than the loss of Price, though, as Toronto’s remaining pitching starts to fall off after Marcus Stroman and Marco Estrada.
Lincecum isn’t for sure a better option than the likes of J.A. Happ or R.A. Dickey, but he certainly provides more upside and could potentially carve out a nice role as the third reliable pitcher in the rotation. On paper, it sounds more promising than what Toronto is doing currently.
Last, but certainly not least, are the Pirates. Pittsburgh has shown some interest and the Pirates certainly know they need to bolster their defense to compete with the Cubs in the stacked NL Central, as their defense (115 runs allowed) has really been atrocious for most of the year.
Losing starting pitcher A.J. Burnett surely didn’t help, but Gerrit Cole has been inconsistent to start the year and the fact that Jeff Locke has hammered down a starting spot tells you the trouble they’re in. Lincecum is a better option than Locke at this point, especially if recent reports of him clocking 91+ in practice are true. Pittsburgh needs to get more serious about their defense, and if the Giants pass on Lincecum, they could look like the best landing spot, overall.
With Pittsburgh close behind the Cubs, adding Lincecum could be a big enough move to tighten the gap if he can show some of his old form.
Got another possible landing spot for Lincecum or think he’s a washed up has been that isn’t worth anyone’s time? Let us hear it in the comments below!
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