Putting The Tim Lincecum Trade Rumors To Bed


Chances are, at some point this past weekend, you heard of the random and pretty unexpected Tim Lincecum trade “rumors” – and I use that term loosely.

July 25, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Tim Lincecum (55) pitches against the San Diego Padres during the fourth inning at AT&T Park – ©Ed Szczepanski-US PRESSWIRE

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported on Saturday that the Giants will make the Freak available this Winter in hopes of moving him:

"He will be available in trade, and it will be interesting to see who bites on the two-time Cy Young winner. The Giants insist his problems this season were strictly mechanical, but opposing teams wonder why his usual 96-mile-per-hour fastball was around 92 most of the season, and why his first-inning problems (28 runs) were the worst in baseball. Lincecum, 28, is due $22 million in the final year of his contract. Would someone take the gamble?"

So where do I start with this…

First off, with no slight to Cafardo – his piece is merely opinion, no facts. While he might feel the Giants will look into moving Lincecum, he has no substantial (or even any) evidence that they will do so. Secondly, there couldn’t possibly be a worse time to move the two-time Cy Young award winner. Coming off the worst season of his career (and the only bad season of his career) and only under contract for the upcoming season, you wouldn’t even be selling low on Lincecum in regards to the return – you’d be selling at clearance prices. Hell, you’d be selling at the clearance prince on a product already on clearance. You know that box of nasty flavored Kool-Aid that’s already been marked down twice? Yeah – that.

Outside of Buster Posey, there isn’t an un-tradeable player on the San Francisco Giants – and saying Posey is un-tradeable is even a stretch. As a general manager, your job is to improve your team – both long and short term, so refusing to listen to a potential trade offer is a poor business practice. That doesn’t mean you have any serious intent to trade a player, but refusing to listen is simply not fulfilling your duty as a GM.

The San Francisco Giants have little reason to move Lincecum unless they feel that he is a clear and obvious health risk who is pitching on borrowed time. Yes, as in the case of any player who has performed below their expectations – teams will call, and those teams will try to low-ball and get themselves a deal. But to think the Giants would get fair value out of a Lincecum trade, especially given he has one year remaining on his deal is nothing short of a pipedream.

If Lincecum is to struggle next season, the Giants can either clear his $22 million dollars worth of salary in a worst case scenario or come to an agreement on a more team friendly deal. If he returns to a Lincecum like form, they can continue to pay him as they’ve done – but moving him is a last resort option unless they’re blown out of the water with an offer – which they wont be.

So sleep tight, Lincecum trade rumors. I know you’ll be back – everybody needs a story and the trade of a two-time Cy Young loves it some page views, but there’s no validity to them.