Tim Lincecum will seek a short-term deal to rebuild his value

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Tim Lincecum has had a rough couple of years, posting a 4.76 ERA dating back to the start of the 2012 season. While some reported the right-hander was seeking a longer-term deal, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports disagrees. Heyman writes that Lincecum already turned down a two-year deal from the Giants and could be seeking a contract elsewhere that lasts only one or two years, which would allow him to prove himself as a top-end starter. If he does, it could be a windfall compared to what he would otherwise get.

Heyman writes:

While it’s possible Lincecum, a two-time Cy Young winner and two-time World Champion with the Giants, could end up elsewhere and maybe even with a longer deal, people familiar with the team’s negotiations suggest the pitcher seemed more interested in a short deal in his dealings with the Giants, for either one or two years.

That wouldn’t be inconsistent with how Lincecum has handled things in the past, turning down longer deals for shorter ones. He is said to have a belief that he’s on the verge of regaining his past form, and unusually interested in short deals at this time, a la Roger Clemens (the Clemens at the end of his career, anyway).

From 2007-11, Lincecum’s fastball averaged 91-94 MPH. It has averaged just over 90 MPH over the last two seasons, one reason why his ability to generate swings and misses declined. His control also went haywire, but to his credit, during the 2013 season, he issued fewer walks. The other big problem was his propensity to the home run. He allowed a total of 44 over the last two seasons, including 18 at home. Moving to a more hitter-friendly park could be risky.

The Nats are going to sign Francisco Rodriguez for some reason

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The Nationals bullpen is a tire fire. They’re about to add another tire. Per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, Washington is about to sign free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez.

K-Rod was released by the Tigers last week after posting an ERA of 7.82 over 28 appearances this season. He has a 1.658 WHIP, is allowing 11.9 hits per nine innings and is posting his highest walk rate in five years. Also worth noting: the Detroit Friggin’ Tigers decided that he was not good enough to be in their bullpen.

So, yeah, good luck with that Washington.

The Giants chemistry is suffering because a guy they all hated is gone

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I’ve spent years arguing with people about team chemistry. You know the battle lines on all of that now: people who talk a lot about team chemistry tend to attribute winning or losing to good or bad chemistry, respectively. I tend to think that characterizing chemistry is a retroactive exercise in which teams that win are happy and then cite their happiness as the reason and vice versa. Jim Leyland agrees with me, for what it’s worth, so I’m pretty happy with my take.

Not that I’ll claim a monopoly on wisdom here. I’ve never played on a professional baseball team. I don’t know what it’s like to try to prepare to play baseball while surrounded by jackwagons who don’t get along with anyone. I can’t imagine that makes life easier. Indeed, based on the testimony of players I have spoken to, I will grant that there is at least some intangible yet real benefit if everyone is happy an gelling. I dismiss team chemistry arguments for the most part, but if I ran a team I’d at least try to get rid of bad seeds if their bad seeding was not outweighed by seriously outstanding on-the-field play. You want your workers happy, folks.

All of which makes me wonder what the heck to do about this passage from Ken Rosenthal’s latest column. It’s about the reeling San Francisco Giants. They have all kinds of issues — their offense is putrid, their pitching isn’t much better and they’ve been without their ace most of the year — but today Rosenthal looks at their team chemistry. It’s a quiet and subdued clubhouse, he notes, and it has a lot of people wondering if something is wrong there. What could it be?

Sandoval, who was an often noisy and boisterous presence during his time with the club, departed as a free agent after that season. Pence has suffered a number of injuries in recent years and declined offensively, making it difficult for him to be as vocal as he was in the past. Some with the Giants muse that the team even misses Angel Pagan, who created an odd sort of unity because most of the players disliked him.

Read that last sentence again. And then go on with your talk about how team chemistry is a legitimate explanatory concept regarding what makes teams win or lose as opposed to a post-hoc rationalization of it.

Not that it’s not a good article overall. There’s some interesting stuff about the Giants’ bullpen culture. And, of course, we now know why no one signed Pagan last winter.