All speculation can end: San Francisco has agreed to a two-year deal with RHP Tim Lincecum, per reports. The contract covers the 2014-15 seasons, is said to be for 2-years $35 million, and contains a full no-trade clause according to multiple sources. The deal is pending a physical, which is generally just a formality.
Earlier this month, Lincecum discussed the possibility of testing free agency. Any of those thoughts are now a moot point.
It was a tale of every-other-month for Tim this season. In April, Lincecum posted a 3.64 ERA. May – 6.37. June – 3.60. July – 4.50. August – 3.62. September – 4.32.
Lincecum finished 2013 with a 4.37 ERA in 197.2 innings with 193 strikeouts and 76 walks. Of course we would be amiss if we didn’t mention the no-hitter on July 13th against the San Diego Padres.
One thing is for sure – Lincecum showed marked improvement in 2013 over his lackluster 2012 campaign. Rather than attempt to be a power pitcher like the two-time Cy Young winner of 2008-09, Lincecum seemingly transformed himself. The stuff was Cy Young quality at times, but away from the Lincecum norm of trying to blow hitters away with a 97 MPH heater — that is now nonexistent — and more towards finesse. It gave reason for Giants’ fans to hope that good things are coming, and apparently San Francisco brass saw that potential as well.
In a thin free agent market for starting pitching, bringing back Lincecum on a short-term deal is an ideal situation. He has the potential to improve, and has familiarity and history with the organization — something that the Giants simply can’t find from the outside. At the very least, “the Freak” will put butts in the seats until highly touted prospects Kyle Crick, Clayton Blackburn, Chris Stratton, and the plethora of other young pitching talent is ready — roundabout 2015.
With the signing — and the previous signing of Hunter Pence – San Francisco has less question marks heading into the coming free agency period. The next priority for the Giants has to be shoring up the bullpen and signing Javier Lopez, adding another bat, and adding depth – all things the organization can now focus on rather than any distraction signing two fan favorites in Lincecum and Pence would assuredly create.
The pitching rotation now consists of Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain and Lincecum; that leaves two spots unsolidified. Will Ryan Vogelsong’s option be picked up? If so, who will fill out the fifth spot?
At this point, it’s anyone’s guess.
At 31-years-old when this thing is done, one has to think $17.5 million per could be the largest contract Lincecum will receive for the rest of his career. Unless of course he returns to Cy Young form.