Originally posted on FOX Sports  |  Last updated 7/13/13
The Freak. The two Cy Young Awards. The 2010 World Series title. The regression. The frustration. The worries about his delivery and durability. The temporary move to the bullpen in last year's playoffs. The World Series resurgence. Another championship. Then another decline, with a 5.12 ERA at the beginning of this June. For a while, we've wondered where Tim Lincecum goes from here. Saturday, for one night, we could again celebrate the marvel he's been -- and maybe still is. Lincecum threw the first no-hitter of his career -- in the Giants' 9-0 win in San Diego -- and there will be those who discredit it by saying he needed 148 pitches to do it. I won't be one of them. A no-hitter is a no-hitter. If you record 27 outs against a major-league lineup without surrendering a hit, you deserve to be cheered wildly -- as Lincecum was Saturday, by a predictably large contingent of Giants fans at Petco Park. So, Lincecum isn't finished at age 29. In fact -- although not yet his Cy Young self -- he had restored his value to the San Francisco rotation long before blanking the Padres. Lincecum had a 3.83 ERA over his last seven starts before Saturday, while averaging more than one strikeout per inning. The Padres, who rank near the middle of the National League in runs scored, are a fairer barometer for judging a pitcher than they've been at any point in recent memory. And to the extent that Lincecum's previous struggles could have been attributable to a temporary confidence shortage, Saturday's performance should deliver a lasting ego boost. Now comes the fun part: Can the Giants really trade Lincecum now? Multiple sources told me recently that some teams -- the Tigers are one -- have interest in acquiring Lincecum as a reliever for the stretch drive. Of course, that presumes that the Giants will become sellers at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. That's far from certain, even with a 43-50 record. The National League West remains winnable, Lincecum (even at 80 percent of his peak) could stabilize the rotation in the second half, and defending champions rarely take themselves apart. Besides, what happened Saturday night -- however unexpected -- is certain to galvanize Lincecum's many supporters in San Francisco. He's the foremost hipster hero in baseball, a perfect fit for the Bay Area. To trade him now would be very unpopular, and the Giants are reluctant to do anything that might jeopardize the sustainability of sold-out gatherings at AT&T Park. Still, even a no-hitter didn't change one fundamental dynamic of Lincecum's baseball career: He's earning $22 million this season, and no team is likely to pay him that much in annual salary once he becomes a free agent after this year. The Giants, for their part, need to see more consistency from Lincecum in the second half before giving serious thought to having him in their 2014 rotation. The bullpen might be his best role in the future, but that conversation quite obviously has been tabled until a later date. Saturday's game didn't prove that Lincecum is all the way back. It did, however, show that he has something to offer the Giants -- or perhaps someone else.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Ben McAdoo willing to give up play-calling duties

Dolphins suspend Lawrence Timmons indefinitely

Greg Olsen placed on IR, will miss at least eight weeks

Report: NFL official under investigation for domestic violence

Alvarez vs. Golovkin result gives boxing another black eye

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Jerry Jones defends Elliott amid criticism over lack of effort

NFL monitoring CFL’s decision to end contact practices

RG3 fires back at Santana Moss over Mike Shanahan comments

Chris Long donating game checks to fund Charlottesville scholarships

WATCH: Tigers’ Jeff Ferrell responsive after taking 103-mph liner to head

College football's biggest winners and losers so far

NFL Referee Hotline: Mike McCarthy is sick of these calls

The 'Kevin Durant has mad (Twitter) handles' quiz

Baseball's most underwhelming teams of 2017

The 'Remember the tight ends' quiz

Ranking the best college football fan bases

Getaway Day: Time runs short as postseason nears

Sports & Politics Intersect: White House sticks it to sports

The 'Not so elementary, my dear Watson' quiz

September chill hits Astros, Dodgers at worst time

College football 2017 Week 3 predictions

Three Up, Three Down: Cleveland hits historic heights while Cubs struggle

The 'Will the Indians ever lose again?' quiz

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!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

NFL Referee Hotline: Mike McCarthy is sick of these calls

Baseball's most underwhelming teams of 2017

The 'Kevin Durant has mad (Twitter) handles' quiz

Ranking the best college football fan bases

The 'Remember the tight ends' quiz

Getaway Day: Time runs short as postseason nears

Sports & Politics Intersect: White House sticks it to sports

The 'Not so elementary, my dear Watson' quiz

September chill hits Astros, Dodgers at worst time

Three Up, Three Down: Cleveland hits historic heights while Cubs struggle

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker