At long last, the Tim Lincecum showcase has an official date: this Friday, May 6 in Scottsdale, according to CSN Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic (citing a report from MLB Network’s Jon Heyman). Lincecum, still a free agent, has been allowed to throw at the Giants’ facility in Arizona.
Lincecum, 31, has reportedly still drawn the interest in at least half the league. San Francisco remains Lincecum’s preferred landing spot, however, per Pavlovic.
The right-hander showed better results in 15 starts last season after three consecutive tough campaigns. He finished the 2015 season with a 4.13 ERA and a 60/38 K/BB ratio in 76 1/3 innings. Given how starting pitching is always in demand, Lincecum should walk away with a handful of offers.
There are a handful of well-known big leaguers still out there looking for work, but Tim Lincecum intrigues more than any of them. Probably because he was a back-to-back Cy Young Award winner who then fell off a cliff and that kind of dynamic is both hard to get one’s heard around but impossible to ignore.
Lincecum isn’t close to signing anyplace, though. Jon Heyman reported yesterday that he’s throwing on the San Francisco Giants’ practice fields in Scottsdale now, but that we shouldn’t look into that as it’s mostly just a courtesy to a longtime member of the club. In reality, Lincecum is just working out in Arizona, still, throwing simulated games — Heyman says he’s working on a rotation schedule, doing 70-pitch sim games — and that the long-teased “Tim Lincecum Showcase” is going to eventually happen. Heyman has been promoting it so long I think Bill Graham was originally involved. It was gonna be at the Fillmore West or the Cow Palace, maybe.
Anyway, he’s still out there, wandering the desert. I can’t help but hope he latches on someplace soon. He was one of my favorites when he was on his game. And the idea that someone can have it all and be on top of everything to suddenly just lose it and then wander like that is fascinating to me.
On Wednesday, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported that Royals scouts were able to find out where in Arizona free agent pitcher Tim Lincecum was throwing. The scouts were promptly, but politely, escorted out.
Lincecum, 31, underwent hip surgery this past September to repair a torn labrum and impingement in his left hip. He was supposed to hold a showcase, but has delayed it on multiple occasions. The Padres, Marlins, and Orioles have been reported to have had the most interest in the right-hander.
Lincecum made 15 starts last season and put up a 4.13 ERA with a 60/38 K/BB ratio over 76 1/3 innings. At least in terms of ERA, the performance was his best since 2011. But his ability to miss bats has waned along with his fastball velocity. He averaged only 87 MPH on his fastball last year.
Spring training is in full swing but some players are still looking for work. Included in that group: Tim Lincecum, rehabbing free agent.
Dennis Lin of the Union-Tribune reports that the Padres have been “very active” on Lincecum. That info coming from Lincecum’s agent, Rick Thurman of Beverly Hills Sports Council, who says multiple people in the Padres’ front office, including GM A.J. Preller, have checked in on the former Cy Young Award winner.
Lincecum is obviously not the pitcher he once was. He has a 39-42 record with a 4.68 ERA, declining strikeout rates and climbing walk rates over the last four seasons and is coming off of hip surgery. At this point, no matter where he signs, he has a ticket with “extended spring training” written all over it with the hope of injuries or ineffectiveness from other pitchers if he’s going to see big league action this year.
A free agent pitcher on the decline coming off of major surgery and still looking for work on February 12 isn’t exactly the definition of Big News. But as newspaper men have known for ages, if you make a bit of information sound cool enough, it becomes news.
Or, in some cases, you can make a lack of information sound cool. If you hear about a trade rumor but aren’t able to actually find out the identity of one of the teams, call it a “mystery team.” Oooh, isn’t that dramatic? Aren’t you privy to all kinds of intrigue! Or, how about this: that free agent on the decline is doing what scores of other ballplayers looking for work are doing and is working out in the Phoenix area, trying to catch on someplace. That’s kind of boring. And you don’t even know who he’s auditioning for or where to boot. Man, that’s not the sort of information that’s gonna be fun or interesting to report.
There. “Secret location.” THAT sounds exciting. THAT separates this bit of news from the dog-bites-man “baseball player playing baseball” non-story. *reporter cracks knuckles* “Now to sit back and wait for the plaudits for my amazing reporting skills to come rolling in.”