The obvious option: ponder trade possibilities. Lincecum is an impending free agent, so the Giants, if they fall out of the National League West race early on in the second half, could deal him to bolster their farm.
The value would have to exceed the value of a qualifying offer ($13.3 million) in terms of prospects, as a qualifying offer would net the Giants a first or second round pick in next year’s draft if Lincecum leaves in free agency this winter. San Francisco’s farm is short on top prospects, so it could always use a jolt.
If San Francisco takes two of three or sweeps the Diamondbacks, though, then Brian Sabean has reason to keep Lincecum and look for additional pieces.
On the other hand…
The Detroit Tigers are cited as a team with interest in Lincecum, according to Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports. But the catch is that they’re interested in him as a reliever, which makes sense given their bullpen woes (sixth-highest relievers ERA in baseball). Starters, on the other hand, are the last thing they need.
Morosi notes that the Tigers are just one of the “several” teams interested in Lincecum as a relief pitcher.
The reasoning is clear: Lincecum still has tremendous stuff over short periods of time. Should he become a reliever, the two-time Cy Young award winner would also have the luxury of letting his fastball rip. So an uptick in the miles per hour department would also seem inevitable because he wouldn’t have to pace himself.
Being just 6.5 games out, however, the Giants aren’t ready to declare themselves as sellers, though.