Once upon a time, there was a major league pitcher by the name of “The Freak”.
This freak had one of the best pitching’ arsenals in the game of baseball. He was flat-out dominant at times.
From the 2008 through the 2011 seasons, Tim Lincecum was arguably the best pitcher in the world. During that four-year span, he was an all-star each season, won two NL Cy Young Awards and was 62-36 with a 2.89 ERA and 977 strikeouts in 881 innings for the San Francisco Giants. By the age of 27, Lincecum looked like he was on his way to a Hall-of-Fame career.
From 2012 and beyond, his fastball velocity dropped dramatically from a consistent mid to high 90’s when he was at his pinnacle. He was still capable of throwing his excellent secondary pitches, but did not get the same swing and miss reaction off of his change up and slider/curve. “The Freak” was gone, and born was Timmy Lincecum-a small in stature pitcher,who struggles with command and no longer has the strikeout pitches he once possessed. Lincecum struggled to keep an ERA below the 4.00 mark and was just a shell of his former self. That type of regression is sadly common for pitchers, and those with a small frame are highly susceptible to this.
Lincecum continued to pitch for the Giants during this time, until his contract expired at the end of the 2015 season. He was always a crowd favorite as fans enjoyed the fact he competed each and every start. Lincecum no-hit the Padres twice in his career (2013 and 2014) so if you can’t hit him, might as well invite him on the roster.
The Padres will attend his showcase, as reported by Jon Heyman.
Earlier this season there was some video of Lincecum working out and throwing off a mound. He looked in wonderful shape and is taking this comeback attempt very seriously.
padres, who scouted lincecum a year ago, will be in attendance in seattle for the showcase thursday
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 13, 2018
The Padres and A.J. Preller did flirt with Lincecum in 2016, prior to him signing with the Los Angeles Angels. Lincecum went 2-6 that year for the Halos with a 9.16 ERA in nine starts and 38 innings pitched. He was released and has not thrown professionally since.
Can Lincecum help the Padres in 2018? That really remains to be seen. He might still have some value, but in reality, fans shouldn’t expect anything near what he used to be. Perhaps in a relief role, he could be effective. His starting days appear to be over, but you never know.
With veteran arms like Jordan Lyles, Chris Young, and Tyson Ross competing for a roster spot, why not add Lincecum to the bunch? The fans would enjoy his personality and he might be able to rekindle some old magic for this young Padre roster. At 33, Lincecum isn’t ancient in terms of baseball standards.
A year away from the game could have benefited the right-hander as he seemed to become frustrated with who he has become as a pitcher. He cannot try to be a strikeout pitcher anymore. He must rely on some command and has to throw strikes for success. If Lincecum can re-invent himself, he still has very serviceable stuff. Perhaps Darren Balsley is the man to get him to adapt to his current abilities. Thursday, scouts will see what he has to offer. Hopefully there is some velocity on the fastball. Stay tuned for details.