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Giants, Vogelsong reunion 'looks like it will happen'

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Let us look at what happens to Tim Lincecum and the rest of the pitching staff, then.

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Yesterday, Ryan Vogelsong was on the Astros, or close to it. Last night, Vogelsong and the Giants were suddenly a match again. On Thursday, Henry Schulman is reporting that Vogelsong and the Giants are almost certainly getting back together. The contract will be for one year, reportedly.

This gives the Giants seven starting pitchers. I would describe this problem as a luxury, except I'm not sure if I trust more than five or six of them. Still, let's sort this out:

  1. Madison Bumgarner
  2. Jake Peavy
  3. Matt Cain
  4. Tim Hudson
  5. Ryan Vogelsong
  6. Yusmeiro Petit
  7. Tim Lincecum
  8. Sergio Romo
  9. Santiago Casilla
  10. Jeremy Affeldt
  11. Javier Lopez
  12. Jean Machi
  13. George Kontos
  14. Hunter Strickland

So we have 14 pitchers for 12 spots. Considering that the last two weren't exactly bullpen stalwarts in the majors last year, it's an easy fix. Kontos and Strickland back down to the minors, where they started last year, with everyone from Machi and above on the roster.

If Vogelsong is signed, who's in the bullpen now? Lincecum and Petit? Lincecum and Vogelsong? Vogelsong and Petit? None of the three options make perfect sense. Assume that Petit is going to be the long reliever/spot starter because that's been a record-setting smash hit of a role for him. That means the final spot will be a scramble between Vogelsong and Lincecum. That's fine, dandy, well, and good, considering that it's something close to an even battle.

Except what happens to the loser? Well, unless Vogelsong shows up to camp throwing 84 mph, I'm pretty sure we already know who the loser is going to be.

Tim Lincecum, short reliever, is something that's made sense for about two years now, especially after he thrived in the role. Never forget the Miguel Cabrera "You got me. My mouth was open. That was a good one. You got me" nod in Game 1 of the 2012 World Series.

We have an idea that Lincecum can succeed in relief, even if it's only a small sample. So we have two possibilities:

1. The Giants are finally committed to using Tim Lincecum in a full-time relief role

2. The Giants are privately concerned with either Matt Cain or Tim Hudson's rehabilitation, unless they're concerned with both

The first possibility is a positive development. While I would wager cash money that Kontos or Strickland would outperform Lincecum over a full season, Lincecum in the bullpen is an improvement over Lincecum in the rotation. If the Giants are going to keep him on the roster -- and releasing him or waiving him would be a bad move, karmically and popularly -- this is the best way to do it.

The second possibility is a hellscape of bad thoughts and feelings. The Giants need those two to be healthy and effective.

I guess a third possibility would be that the Giants are lying to Vogelsong and secretly convinced he would be a rad reliever. That conspiracy theory seems a little unhinged, though.

The Giants probably would have been better served to get a fancypants pitcher like James Shields, a top-o'-the-rotation arm that was a clear upgrade, but I'll stop asking what they're thinking. Three more rings than I'll ever have, and all that. After a day of contemplation, though, I'm somewhat curious about Lincecum's 2015 season now. Prior to the Vogelsong news, I was dreading it. That's an improvement, right?

As long as the Vogelsong move isn't about an as-yet undisclosed injury, I can dig it. It's not like this rotation was going to make it through the season intact, anyway. One more starter can't hurt.

Edit: George Kontos is out of options and his emoji game is strong.