Jun 16, 2015; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Tim Lincecum (55) pitches during the first inning against the Seattle Mariners at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports
Tim Lincecum will never again be the guy that blew away hitters on his way to back to back Cy Young awards in 2008-09. He will be 32-years-old in 2016, and has lost his fastball. While he won’t be “the Freak”, he still might be a pretty good pitcher.
Lincecum hasn’t really been effective since 2011. Yet, early last season he enjoyed a strong start with a 5-3 record and 3.00 ERA through the first two months of the season. The wheels fell off his comeback drive with a 7.45 ERA in June. Lincecum then missed the rest of the season due to a torn labrum in his hip (the same injury that Alex Gordon and Alex Rodriguez successfully returned from in the late noughts).
Before the hip injury, Tim Lincecum looked like he had figured out how to succeed without the heat. Lincecum still has a weird, deceptive delivery and with newly developed pitchability he could be a bargain. He might be especially effective switching leagues since many AL hitters haven’t seen a delivery like the Freak’s.
Notice also, that Lincecum has thrown both of his no-hitters (in 2013 and 2014) after he lost his fastball. If he finally figured out how to replicate those flashes on a consistent basis in 2015, then he might be very useful in 2016 with a healthy hip.
The best part is that Tim Lincecum will likely come cheap because he needs to prove that he can still get hitters out without the fastball over a full season. Not only should he be cheap, he should also be very anxious to pitch in front of the Kansas City Royals defense in a big park like Kauffman Stadium.
I must confess a certain bias. I used to play 2K9 and 2K10 and pull trades just to see Lincecum in a KC Royals uniform. I’d love to see it happen in reality, just because.
Come to Kansas City, Tim. You could get another trip to the World Series.
Next: Mark Buehrle