Teams were waiting for months, literally months, to see what Tim Lincecum would look like on the other side of his hip surgery. He finally held his showcase, before scouts representing most of the organizations in the game, and, here, let’s put you in their shoes. It’s Tim Lincecum pitching!
All right, that is most definitely Tim Lincecum, and he is most definitely pitching. Is he pitching like a major-league-caliber starter? A major-league-caliber reliever? How many millions of dollars do you give him? Lincecum threw a few dozen pitches, looking like this. Based on that experience, teams had to get negotiating.
Lincecum was certain to sign somewhere. It always felt like he was most likely to sign somewhere out west, even with the Giants not super open to letting him start. Now we’ve just about got a resolution, and it’s the obvious one. Jon Heyman reported Lincecum was leaning toward the Angels, and Ken Rosenthal had some confirmation. This still isn’t finalized, but it’s almost there. I don’t know about the money, but it doesn’t really matter, because it’s not any of our money, and because we can guess that Lincecum is signing for a low base with some incentives. The Angels would’ve had to offer enough to stand out, but their location works to their benefit.
The Angels are obvious because they’re out west, because their rotation sucks, and because they’re somewhere around the fringes of the race. They just managed to sweep the Mariners in Seattle, which was very impressive of them, but their record is not good, and they could use the shot in the arm. The most interesting starter on the Angels is out for a year. The second-most interesting starter on the Angels is healthy and active, but he’s interesting because his velocity has fallen off of a cliff. Andrew Heaney might be done for the year. Tyler Skaggs has had some bumps in his recovery from Tommy John. C.J. Wilson is testing out a new arm slot. Jhoulys Chacin just got picked up from a horrible team for nothing and added to the rotation. Matt Shoemaker has an ERA of literally 9.12. Hector Santiago is useful, and Nick Tropeano is also looking useful, but, I mean, read this paragraph again if you have to. What do the Angels have to lose? How bad could Lincecum possibly be? And, people know him. They like him, and they’re intrigued by him. He generates buzz. That much is undeniable.
Lincecum, for what it’s worth, isn’t game-ready yet. Not for the majors — he’ll go to the minors for some kind of stretch, looking to settle in. No one could actually know how well he’s going to do, but Lincecum has always hung on to one thing. Even as his stuff declined, Lincecum kept on generating swings and misses.
The question now is how much stuff he has. Reports from the showcase had Lincecum topping out around 92, and in 2010, he was effective with a fastball that averaged 91.3. Talk from last fall suggested that Lincecum’s hip surgery could be restorative, and that’s why there’s the perception of upside. If he has some power back, that’s helpful. And even more important, if Lincecum doesn’t hurt anymore, he could achieve improved mechanical consistency, which is at the heart of everything. Better consistency = better location = better results. Every single time a player comes back from injury, you can see reason to hope, and this situation is no different. It’s easy to believe. Everyone wants to believe in a comeback.
The Angels, though, aren’t expecting Lincecum to be in Cy Young form. That would be silly of them to expect, and that would be silly for Lincecum to expect. Truth be told, I don’t know if the Angels are expecting anything. It’s just, their situation was this: The team isn’t good, and it’s been beset by injury. There was some money available, and Lincecum provides potential value, at minimal cost. If he doesn’t work out, well, Matt Shoemaker hasn’t been working out, and Lincecum is more interesting than he is. If he does work out, hey, that’s super, maybe something could happen here. This has been the most obvious potential match since the Garrett Richards news broke. Don’t listen to those people out there; sometimes you can predict baseball.
Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.
that pitch he threw in that gif there, i think i could hit that
Considering the pitch was in the dirt and the catcher flinched like a little league catcher who wasn’t wearing a facemask, I’d reason that you’d have no shot at touching that