One of the article ideas I've had on the docket for about a month is "The less we hear about Tim Lincecum, the worse the news probably is." There was supposed to be a showcase in January, then February, and then in March, when he was training in an underground lair. It's April, the season has started, and there hasn't been any news since the secret location. This cannot be a good thing if you're rooting for Lincecum.
I haven't gotten around to this article idea because it puts me in a bad, bad mood.
Just when all looked lost, however, Lincecum's de facto beat writer Jon Heyman gives us some information nuggets:
lineceum said doing well while rotating AZ pitching venues. working as if in rotation. dad chris: "no setbacks & no hurry"— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) April 8, 2016
Fair enough! That's good news, I suppose. And that's the story of how Tim Lincecum was doing fine, which is the end of today's upd ...
#SFGiants remain interested/in touch with timmy. unlike others, they are still thinking pen for him, tho. TL wants to start— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) April 8, 2016
Zoinks! The door isn't closed, apparently. It's propped open, if ever so slightly.
After careful consideration, though I just can't see it. Lincecum knows that he can make more money next offseason as a starter, and he also probably prefers the role. It's familiar. So for him to circle all the way back to the Giants, something has to change.
Here are the scenarios where it might make sense for Lincecum to come back:
The Giants suffer from some sort of depth chart mayhem
Chris Heston is already on the 25-man roster. Clayton Blackburn is already on the 40-man roster. For the Giants to need a starter beyond those two very competent, reasonable options, something will have to have gone terribly wrong. I love Tim Lincecum, Giants Icon, but not enough to hope for depth chart mayhem. I'd prefer the nice, clean roster that we've been expecting for months now.
No one is looking for an emergency starter by the time Lincecum is ready
That seems very, very, very unlikely. The injury goblins are sharpening their teeth. There will be bad teams who would prefer a name-brand veteran over rushing ill-equipped prospects into 100-pitch, four-inning starts. There will be good teams who have already taxed the depth at the top of their system. Someone will need a starter.
If no one is looking for a starter, though, maybe Lincecum reconsiders his position about being a reliever? I guess?
Lincecum doesn't impress at his showcase, and the Giants are his best shot to make the majors
I'm a nostalgia junkie, just like some of you, but it extends only so far. If other teams aren't interested in Lincecum because he doesn't impress at his showcase, the Giants should also run away. That's not up for debate.
Lincecum decides that being a Giant is more important than being a starter
What a story! Also, it's probably fantasy. Even if Lincecum turns into Craig Kimbrel and becomes a top-tier closer -- about as likely as Kelby Tomlinson turning into a legitimate cleanup hitter, to be fair -- he'd still make millions and millions less on the open market next year compared to what he would make as a successful starter. Compare Mike Leake's salary to Andrew Miller's, for example.
And while I love the Giants, I don't love them enough to spit on millions and millions of dollars. If there's an eccentric billionaire Dodgers fan, call me. I would love to blog about the Dodgers this season, and I'm only talking a couple million, here. So I wouldn't begrudge Lincecum for his choice.
Also, in this scenario, the Giants have depth chart mayhem when it comes to their relievers, too. It's not all sunshine and team loyalty. The already-full bullpen will have had some sort of calamity that the minors can't fix.
None of these scenarios are appealing. Not a single one. As such, the best thing we can say about a potential Lincecum/Giants reunion is that it would be very bittersweet. Something will have had to have gone very wrong with the team's plans if they need an additional reliever or starter.
I'm a Lincecum fan. There can't be anyone, though, who's enough of a Lincecum fan to root for that kind of calamity. Keep a positive thought, and just hope it isn't the Padres.
Also, feels like this would be a good home for this: