Tim Lincecum had the shortest start of his career Sunday, failing to make it out of the second inning against the Dodgers while allowing five runs and recording four outs.
Early on this season Lincecum had a fantastic ERA despite poor velocity and underwhelming strikeout and walk rates, all of which has caught up with him lately.
Since shutting out the Dodgers for seven innings on May 20 to lower his ERA to 2.08, the two-time Cy Young winner has allowed 22 runs in 27 innings while striking out 23 and walking 15.
Sunday afternoon’s start was the fourth time in eight outings that he’s failed to complete five innings and he hasn’t completed six or more innings in back-to-back starts since May 3 and May 8. His strikeout rate is a career-low 7.1 per nine innings, his walk-rate is a career-high 4.4 per nine innings, and his average fastball is down to 87.3 miles per hour at age 32.
Lincecum has been trending in the wrong direction for several seasons now, but he looks awfully close to no longer being a viable rotation option for the Giants with Jake Peavy set to come off the disabled list and Matt Cain soon to follow.
The first truly big free agent signing of the offseason has gone down: the Chicago White Sox just announced that they have signed catcher Yasmani Grandal to a four-year, $73 million deal.
Grandal, 31, was the best catcher available in free agency. He is coming off a fine year with the Milwaukee Brewers, with whom he had to settle for a one-year pact in 2019. He hit .246/.380/.468 with 28 homers and 77 driven in. It was his fourth straight season with 20+ homers. While his catching has been criticized due to some high-profile mistakes in the postseason, the two-time All-Star once again proved himself to be one of the best pitch-framers in the game if not the best. Between the bat and the glove he has a claim to being one of the best all-around catchers in baseball.
The signing leaves open the question of what happens to James McCann, who was himself an All-Star this year. It’s not that hard a question, of course, as Grandal is a far superior catcher to McCann in every respect. The Sox could make McCann a backup. Alternatively, they could try to trade him to fill other holes on the roster.
The White Sox finished 72-89 in 2019 but are showing signs of coming out of rebuilding mode and into contention mode. This signing pushes them a big step into that direction.