Yesterday Tim Lincecum held his much awaited showcase, throwing 25 pitches for 20 scouts representing 15 major league teams. By all accounts, it went well.
Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that scouts walked away impressed, with most saying Lincecum was hitting 90-92 on the gun, and one saying he had Lincecum at 93. When Lincecum last pitched in the bigs, in 2016, he was barely touching the high-80s. Feinsand says the scouts were greatly impressed with Lincecum’s physical shape, calling him “ripped.”
One source told Feinsand that Lincecum “was probably a little better than I expected him to be,” and that “he’ll definitely get a job, there’s no doubt about that.” Likely a minor league deal, but definitely an invite to a camp.
Lincecum hasn’t pitched since 2016 and even then he didn’t pitch well, going 2-6 with a 9.16 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 over 38.1 innings with the Angels. A chronic hip injury hampered him in his final few years in the bigs, but scouts told Feinsand yesterday that there was no obvious sign of the injury now.
As someone who enjoyed Lincecum more than almost any other pitcher when he was in his prime, I hope he does get another chance. As someone who had a very hard time watching the once-great Lincecum struggle in his final few years, I hope that, if he does, he still has something left in the tank.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Major League Baseball has banned all transactions with Liga Mexicana de Beisbol (LMB), popularly known as the Mexican League. As of now, all 30 teams are prohibited from signing players under contract with LMB teams. The ban was issued due to Major League Baseball’s contention that “corruption” and “fraud” run rampant in the player acquisition process.
Passan describes the issues in detail, and they sound pretty compelling. The upshot: LMB clubs — which have full control over their players — are taking advantage of them, taking most if not all of the signing bonuses MLB teams give them after negotiating for their rights. Mexican teams often sign players when they’re 15 years-old so that, once they are old enough for American teams to approach them, they’re in the position to take a usurious cut.
Passan says Major League Baseball is demanding greater transparency from LMB before it’s willing to lift the ban. He also says that the MLBPA is in “lockstep” with Major League Baseball on the matter, which makes sense given that, if MLB’s claims are accurate, players are being exploited here. He also says that if LMB does not change its ways, there is a “Plan B,” though it’s not clear what that is.
There aren’t a ton of Mexican players signed by MLB teams each year, but there are enough to make this a significant issue that is worth watching.