Many Giants fans feel that Tim Lincecum is a ticking time bomb.
After exploding onto the MLB stage by winning back-to-back Cy Young awards in 2008-09, the Freak imploded last season, going 10-15 with a hefty 5.18 ERA.
That has left many of us to ponder the question, “Have we seen the best of Timmy?”
Giants execs have been reluctant to sign Lincecum (2 years, $40.5 million) to the kind of contract given to his sturdy teammate Matt Cain (6 years, $127.5 million). That’s probably because they fear that Timmy’s diminutive size — coupled with the way he throws the ball — is a recipe for disaster. (Granted, he has reportedly gained 10 pounds during the offseason.)
Also, Lincecum has lost 5-7 miles off his fastball over the years and his walks total has steadily increased as well.
Now, Big Time Timmy Jim is entering a big-time contract year. He turns 29 in a couple of months and by then, San Francisco will probably have a good idea upon which Lincecum they’ll need to make a decision.
Sure, Lincecum was effective as a World Series reliever (4.2 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts), but nobody’s going to pay $20 million a year for a reliever, even if closer Sergio Romo flames out as the Giants’ stopper.
I would hope that Giants GM Brian Sabean has learned his lesson about signing 29-year old former Cy Young winners to lengthy and expensive contracts, right Barry Zito?
Quite honestly, San Francisco would be better off investing their money in young stars Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval. Then, take the money they’d normally pay Lincecum, plus the money they’d save by opting out on Zito’s contract in 2014, and hit the winter meetings hard in December.
The 2014 free agent market looks strong right now.
Unless they’re signed to extensions by their current clubs, Cardinals righty Adam Wainwright and the Marlins’ Josh Johnson will be available and command a lot of attention, as will Yankees hurler Phil Hughes. (All of whom, by the way, have had their personal share of time on the DL.)
Sabean could also look to trade for a replacement starter to fill the rotation.
Don’t get me wrong. I loves me some Timmy Lincecum, and the dude’s credentials are rock solid, I just don’t trust his arm anymore. Do you?
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