As spring training starts and all of the signed players report to their respective camps, there are still the unsinged players looking for work. Some of these players are young stars looking for the right deal for the right price. Others are veterans waiting for the right situation, and the rest of these players are seasoned veterans whose Major League clocks may have expired.
Last Thursday, a former baseball standout conducted a tryout for around 20 Major League scouts to show that he can still get hitters out. That player was none other than Tim Lincecum. Lincecum is a former Cy Young award winner and in his prime he was one of the best pitchers in the Major Leagues, and was so for years.
Lincecum has done just about everything you could ask of a starting pitcher in the Major Leagues. He has won multiple Cy Young awards and thrown a no hitter. He has pitched and won games in the playoffs, and has won three World Series. Lincecum is an experienced pitcher. With all of these accomplishments, how can it be that he is still searching for a job?
Lincecum was managed by Dusty Baker during the early years of his career, and Baker much like he always does put a ton of mileage on Lincecum’s young arm. Lincecum seems to not have much if anything left. The last major league experience that Lincecum has was in 2016 with the Angels and that experiment did not go well for him at all. His stint with the Angels lasted for nine starts and he pitched to a 9.16 ERA.
The Red Sox were one of the 20 teams to have sent a scout to the workout. Why would the Red Sox send a scout to the workout? This is a low risk and potential high reward. The Red Sox would not have to pay Lincecum much money at all to sign a deal. He would be a minor league depth signing to start, and then if he progresses well enough he could find himself in a major league bullpen.
Lincecum’s days as a starter in the major leagues are most likely over, and if a team were to sign him to a major league deal it would be a as a reliever. It would be a long reliever who would be used as sparingly in not very many high leverage situations to begin with. Since he would come cheap signing him even to provide a spring training body may make sense as well.
Lincecum looked better at his tryout that he has in the recent past. He was touching 93 and looked to have some more movement on his pitches. He looked closer to normal than he has in the past, and his shot of landing a job is much improved than what it was before the tryout. It would not be surprising to see Lincecum land a minor league job at least before teams break camp.
Photo Credit: Larry Brown
In term’s of the Red Sox, I would be surprised if they actually made a move for Lincecum at this point. With the Red Sox standing pat for the most part this offseason, until recently with the signing of JD Martinez. That actually gives the Red Sox some flexibility on letting the players in their system develop and not have to worry about rushing them to the major leagues. The Red Sox are going to have some guys like Brian Johnson and Hector Velazquez who break camp in the minors, and their main role will be as the depth starters for this team.
Lincecum is going to sign with the team that provides him the reassurance that he can pitch in the major leagues at some point this season. The Red Sox are not going to be able to provide that guarantee as they have a full rotation and have already invested dollars and time into their depth starters, who have proven they can get guys out in the Major Leagues.
The team that signs Lincecum is going to be a team who is probably not going to contend this year. The Pirates, Padres, and Marlins are teams that are going to be looking for pitching under every rock and will sign almost anyone capable at this point. Lincecum will get a job, but it wont be with the Red Sox.