Found July 01, 2013 on SF Lunatic Fringe:
San-francisco-giants-texas
It was the winter of 2007.  Tim Lincecum had just finished his shortened rookie season with a 4.00 ERA, 150 strikeouts in 146.1 innings, but the Giants had finished in the basement of the NL West at 71-91.  Barry Bonds wasn’t coming back.  Alex Rios was two years away from being a free agent.  The 26-year old Toronto Blue Jays outfielder had just had a career-high 24 home runs with a .297 batting average, a 5.6 WAR, and his second All-Star season. Toronto offered him to the Giants for Lincecum, straight up.  Thus started an amazing “What if” offseason, with no one knowing the right answer. The Giants said no, and that appeared to be the right answer.  Rios had a solid 2008.  His home runs dropped to 15, but he actually had a higher WAR (5.9).  Lincecum, though, had a 7.9 WAR as he won the first of two Cy Youngs.  Rios dropped off significantly in 2009, batting just .247 (especially after batting just .199 in 41 games after being traded to the Chicago White Sox).  The Giants went on to win a World Series with Lincecum as a leader.  Pretty clear that it was a good no-trade. In 2013, would you do it now? First of all, this is an academic exercise.  If the Giants were going to trade for Rios, it’d be for a package of prospects.  Probably a fair number of prospects.  The White Sox are rebuilding, in the basement of the A.L. Central.  The Giants are damn close to the basement, but kinda close to first as well. But, let’s just think about it.  5+ years later, what’s the answer? Rios is now 32.  He’s coming off one of his best seasons since that 2007-2008 stretch, where he hit 25 homers with a career-high .304 average.  This year, he’s batting .272 but does have 11 home runs halfway through the season.  He’s still a solid baserunning threat.  He’s signed through 2014 at $12.5M, with a club option for 2015 at $13.5M. Lincecum, at 29, is no longer a Cy Young candidate.  He has marginally improved from a career-worst 2012 season where he wasn’t truly a playoff starter for the team.  He has a 4.64 ERA, a career-low 8.8 K/9IP.  He’s shown signs of getting his mechanics back down, but he’s not a dominating starter.  He’s a free agent at the end of the year, and could be a bargain for a team on a short-term deal to give him time to prove he can get back to where he was. The thing is, Rios has had spikes in his career.  Then he drops off the face of the planet.    His 2013 could go either way.  He hasn’t been convincing.  Lincecum, on the other hand, is just two years removed from a strong 2011, where he had a 4.2 WAR.  Not as strong as his Cy Young years, but pretty damn strong.  And he did it without the strikeouts, and with increased walks. Forget the placement of the teams, and whether it makes sense.  Would you do it? It’s a tough decision for me to say.  There’s something to be said for a change of scenery helping a player, and maybe in the end, that’s what Lincecum needs.  I have no doubt he could be great again…but could it be in San Francisco?  After all that’s happened? What I remember of Rios is the 2007 Home Run Derby.  He came to San Francisco, and hit home runs that rivaled the majesty of Bonds.  His swing was nice, even if it didn’t translate to games always.  And he nearly hit the coke bottle. However, he is wildly inconsistent at times.  He’s not a superstar hitter, and he’s only rarely a star anymore.  The Giants need some offensive help, but…more than their pitching right now?  And what will the Giants do when Pagan comes back, or Gary Brown or Roger Kieschnick need to come up?  Or Rios doesn’t want to shift to left? But there’s something about Lincecum.  Maybe I’m sentimental, but I’m a little attached to him.  He’s a bit uniquely San Franciscan, in that he’s a little different, a little frowned upon, and very misunderstood.  He’s got a hero’s journey to complete…probably. And the Giants need him, too.  As I’ve often mentioned, the Giants have three free agent rotation pitchers at the end of this season: Lincecum, Ryan Vogelsong and (potentially) Barry Zito.  At this point, Vogelsong is nothing but questions.  Zito would be expensive, but at least the Giants have a crazy option of keeping him. But Lincecum…his best fit might be with San Francisco.  Anywhere else, and the media will be even more focused on him, as a newcomer who really needs to perform, both for his new team and himself.  In San Francisco, Giants fans know him, and while there’ll be pressure, it won’t be the same kind.  We know not to expect too much.  And as Lincecum tries to find out if he can ever make $15M+ on a free agent market on a short deal, the Giants would be a good place for him to try, in terms of environment. So, maybe just for sentimental reasons.  Maybe a bit for baseball reasons.  But I still wouldn’t do it.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

SF Giants Blogs Around The Web: Lincecum For Rios Trade, Blanco’s Success, Posey, Belt, Etc.

A reflection from Lunatic Fringe on the Tim Lincecum for Alex Rios Trade That Never Was… Or Will Be?   A look at why the San Francisco Giants should be focusing on the objectives rather than the goal from Miracle At Coogan’s Bluff.   A great review of Gregor Blanco‘s success as a substitute for Angel Pagan from Lefty Malo.   Buster Posey and Brandon Belt lineup rosterbation...

Madison Bumgarner halts the San Francisco Giants’ six game slide

  The 2013 San Francisco Giants have had their share of ups, but more often than not, their downs. This year has been a far cry from the magical 2012 season that culminated in a World Series Championship. Prior to the Sunday finale against the Colorado Rockies, the Giants had lost a season high six straight games. This has been the club’s longest losing streak since 2010.   Saturday...

Giants promoting 1B Angel Villalona to Double-A

First baseman Angel Villalona, a former top prospect with the San Francisco Giants before being cleared of a murder charge in his native Dominican Republic, has been promoted to Double-A Richmond from Class-A San Jose. Giants assistant general manager Bobby Evans said Sunday night Villalona would join Richmond on Monday. A California League All-Star this season, the slugging first...

Four Myths About Why the Giants Have Stumbled in 2013

Make no mistake about it. There isn't a team in the National League West that believes the 2013 San Francisco Giants are toast. Or even partially broasted . That would include the three teams ahead of the 4th place 39-43 Giants in the NL West standings (Arizona, Colorado, and San Diego), as well as the rejuvenated and surging last place LA Dodgers. And that's a very...

Giants' Santiago Casilla almost ready for rehab assignment

San Francisco Giants reliever Santiago Casilla is on course to go out on a rehab assignment within the next few days. MLB.com's Ian McCue reports that Casilla threw two simulated innings against live hitters on Friday in Colorado. Manager Bruce Bochy wouldn't give a timetable for the reliever's return but did say he could go on rehab 'real soon'. "Felt...

Giants' Chad Gaudin on a fast track back

San Francisco's pitching staff will get another boost soon as Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he's confident Chad Gaudin will be back next weekend. Chad Gaudin is about to throw a bullpen. Expects to be ready when eligible July 6. — Andrew Baggarly (@CSNBaggs) June 29, 2013 Gaudin threw a bullpen session at Coors Field on Saturday, and Bochy said he isn't sure...

Giants' Ryan Vogelsong throws for the first time since injury

The San Francisco Giants are struggling.  They are just three games back in the National League West, but they are four games under .500.  They just got blown out by the Reds in a rain-shortened game.  The team needs some good news, and they got it yesterday.  Ryan Vogelsong took a major step forward in his recovery. Chris Haft of MLB.com says Vogelsong threw yesterday for...

Bumgarner, Posey, and Pence give Giants a much-needed win

Madison Bumgarner went seven strong innings, and Buster Posey homered (again) to give the Giants a much-needed 5-2 win over the Colorado Rockies. For the first time in the series, San Francisco got on the board first. For the second time in the series, Posey went deep, this time launching his 12th homerun of the season to left field to give the Giants a 1-0 lead in the third. But...

Giants Rumors: San Francisco looking for right-handed outfield bat

The San Francisco Giants, as we know, are struggling. Big time. Their rotation is struggling, their bullpen is struggling and they are failing to knock in runs. In their last 13 games, the Giants have averaged 2.3 runs per game. If you want my analysis on that, I'll give it to you. It's not good. That is leaving the team looking for hitting through the free agent and trade...

Reds, Giants both struggling

The San Francisco Giants' run to last year's World Series title nearly ended in the division series until they swept their road games against the Cincinnati Reds. The Giants will have a more modest goal when they return to Great American Ball Park. San Francisco will try to turn around what's so far been a miserable road trip while Cincinnati will seek to bounce back...

Cuddyer extends hitting streak to 27

Madison Bumgarner gave the San Francisco Giants a much-needed lift. Bumgarner scattered four hits over seven innings, Hunter Pence hit a two-run homer and the Giants ended their longest losing streak in three years with a 5-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Sunday. ''It was a big win for us,'' Bumgarner said. ''I feel like that you have to think you...

Giants 5, Rockies 2

Madison Bumgarner scattered four hits over seven innings, Hunter Pence hit a two-run homer and the San Francisco Giants ended their longest losing streak in three years with a 5-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Sunday. San Francisco had lost six straight, its longest skid since dropping seven in a row from June 26-July 1, 2010. The World Series champions had dropped seven...

Buster Posey Wins National League Player of the Week

After getting swept by the Dodgers and losing two out of three to the Colorado Rockies this past week, the San Francisco Giants were in desperate need of some good news. Luckily, their MVP catcher was around to provide a silver lining to a team that needed any lift it could get. Buster Posey was named the National League Player of the Week for the week ending on Sunday, June 30....

A Few Words on All-Star Ballot Box Stuffing (Would MLB Allow Eight Giants as Starters?)

(Image: Morry Gash/Associated Press) As of this writing, Troy Tulowitzki has a commanding lead in All-Star Game voting at NL shortstop.  Since Tulo is on the disabled list, it appears likely the starting job will go to the second-place candidate, San Francisco’s Brandon Crawford.  Brewers shortstop Jean Segura is a relatively close third, so it’s conceivable (albeit unlikely...

Giants-Reds Preview

The San Francisco Giants' run to last year's World Series title nearly ended in the division series until they swept their road games against the Cincinnati Reds. The Giants will have a more modest goal when they return to Great American Ball Park. San Francisco will try to turn around what's so far been a miserable road trip while Cincinnati will seek to bounce back...
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.