Should the San Francisco Giants Re-sign Tim Lincecum?


Tim Lincecum has long been a crucial part of the culture of the San Francisco Giants, but as a free agent this offseason his future in the Bay Area remains in doubt.

The love affair between Lincecum and the San Francisco Giants is a storied one, with many chapters and many twists and turns. From a first-round draft pick, to the ace of the staff, to a three-time World Series Champion, to a struggling fourth starter, to an injured free agent, he has played every role that the team has asked of him. Now with the Winter Meetings getting set to begin in early December and the offseason Hot Stove ramping up, should the Giants look to re-sign Lincecum, who is coming off of hip surgery?

The answer is yes. But only under the right circumstances.

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Even Lincecum’s biggest fans can now admit that the two-year, $35 million contract that he signed in 2013 did not end up as one of the best contracts that the team has signed in recent years, but with Lincecum coming off of surgery and with his recent struggles with command and velocity, it is likely that his value on the open market will decrease considerably. There will most likely be very few teams that are interested, and the Giants could potentially sign him to a relatively cheap, one-year contract to see what kind of stuff he has.

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According to an article by Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan, Lincecum is planning on doing a showcase towards the end of the offseason to allow time for continued healing and rehabilitation and to give teams the opportunity to see him in person before making a move. The Giants are expected to be one of the teams that will be taking part, and what they will see during that showcase has the potential to be a new-and-improved Tim Lincecum.

Lincecum’s velocity has decreased dramatically over the last several seasons, and much of that can be traced back to the torn hip labrum that has been limiting his performance. With that issue now gone, his old stuff could begin to return. Lincecum’s extravagant delivery requires extreme flexibility in order to operate effectively, and with his hip repaired, it is not difficult to imagine that the increased mobility would only help with his mechanics.

In addition, Lincecum could provide much-needed versatility in the Giants rotation or in their bullpen. He has proven over the course of his career, and even on the biggest stage of the postseason, that he can work out of the ‘pen, and though he has expressed a desire to be signed as a starter, he might be able to be convinced to work as a long relief man or provide spot-starts for a struggling starter.

All of this, of course, hinges on his recovery. Lincecum has been rehabbing since the end of the season, and will continue to do so until his showcase, which will potentially take place in January. According to Passan, “So far, Lincecum’s doctors have called him the “poster boy” for recovery from his hip surgery. He is ahead of the five-month schedule, and in December, he will return to Vail, Colorado to visit his surgeon, who could continue the rehab for a short period or give Lincecum the go-ahead to throw a baseball.” This is good news, both for Lincecum and the continuation of his career, and for the Giants, who clearly have a rooting interest in his success, regardless of whether or not he stays with the team.

Lincecum has been a huge part of the culture of the Giants ever since he was signed out of the University of Washington as the small pitcher with the big mechanics who captured the imagination of a team struggling to answer the question of “Who comes next?” after the departure of Barry Bonds. Lincecum not only bridged that gap, but also did so with incredible success, beginning the run of the modern-day dynasty and endearing himself to fans all across the Bay Area.

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It would be fitting for the team to give him one last shot, especially if he is healthy and throwing well, and it would make sense for him to stay, as he has already expressed a desire to do. It is a low-risk, high-reward scenario that could end up paying huge dividends for the Giants, and would keep a fan-favorite in orange and black for at least another season. If all goes well, this story could yet have its happy ending.