Lincecum rumors are beyond freaky
Every Trade Deadline season, something pops up that just makes you shake your head and wonder. This year, it’s the Tim Lincecum rumors, which make no sense on any level, and finally Giants GM Brian Sabean threw some water on them this week, albeit with the standard caveats.
It’s always been a weird contract situation with the Freak. His salary blew up in historic fashion because he’d done historic things, winning back-to-back Cy Young Awards in his second and third seasons in the Majors. His first arbitration case broke new ground for pitchers, and the $22 million he’s making this season is an extension of that amazing rise to the top of his profession.
Since then, that level of performance obviously has dropped, and he’s not at the top of his profession. But he’s having a better 2013, he can still throw a 148-pitch no-hitter (like, a pitch a pound, man), and he still was as valuable as any other player — among many — in the Giants’ run to the 2012 World Series, unselfishly and uncannily jumping into a relief role that proved vital to the team’s survival and ultimate success. Few players have made that adjustment midstream, and with such blatant focus on the team goal. You could see the appreciation for that and the rest of how Lincecum has handled his slide in the faces of his teammates as he was mobbed on the field in San Diego at the end of his no-hitter.
Point blank, this isn’t the type of trade that makes sense for a team like the Giants. To do it, they’d basically be turning the page on a World Series era, at least symbolically, and they’d be very hard pressed to get any prospects they need while letting the money go. Really, what’s the upside? It’s just one of those, ‘Gee, he’s a free agent at season’s end and the Giants are in fourth place, so … obviously.’ Well, no, not obviously.
If he goes as a free agent, he goes. Maybe he will, and maybe he’ll become a reliever when he does. Maybe he’ll stay at a discount, maybe he won’t. But to say you get nothing for him if he goes as a free agent is to demean what he’s done in the past. Say what you will about bang for the buck the last couple of regular seasons, but this guy has delivered plenty over his still short career with the Giants.
Bottom line, to trade Lincecum would send so many messages this Giants organization hasn’t sent in years. It’d be a game-changer if they went that far. As Sabean suggested, it’s hard to even imagine.
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