After years and years of speculation and lineup changes, with everyone from Buckethead to Shaquille O'Neal involved at one point, Tim Lincecum is finally getting ready to release Chinese Democracy. The album, 14 tracks long, will ...
No, apologies. Lincecum is getting ready to hold his showcase. His pitching showcase. The album release is still unconfirmed, but the pitching showcase is on. According to Jon Heyman, the showcase will be this Friday, May 6.
And, yes, the Giants will be there.
The last report we had from Heyman was that Lincecum was throwing 90/91. That doesn't seem particularly exciting, but one of the myths of his decline is that it correlates perfectly with the decline of his velocity. That's not quite true, considering that he won a Cy Young averaging 92 mph and a World Series averaging 91.
This isn't to say that his next team is getting 2009 or 2010 Timmy. Just a reminder that 91 wasn't always a metaphorical death sentence.
Here's another reminder that these reports aren't coming from impartial sources. Anyone who is watching Lincecum right now is someone who is being allowed to watch. It's not like the source is some random scout from the Rays. It's the same person close to Lincecum who has been making Heyman the de facto Lincecum beat writer this whole time. So grains of salt, and all that.
In January, it looked completely unrealistic that the Giants and Lincecum would reunite. They had a full rotation (Peavy was fine last year, and Cain was healthy again!) and they had a full bullpen (Heston was the perfect long reliever! No injuries here!). Even in March, when the entire staff was a sloppy mess, there wasn't a fit. A month into the regular season, though, and the Giants have two struggling starters, an injury and some ineffectiveness in the bullpen, and a 13-man bullpen without a long reliever.
More than that, if there's any team that could pick up on the subtleties of what's going right or wrong at the showcase, it's probably the Giants. I'd guess that Dave Righetti could probably use smell and audio cues to tell if Lincecum was right. Blindfold him and put him on the top step of the dugout, facing the other way, and he'll have a pretty good idea.
Still a longshot. But if we were talking a one-percent chance in January, it has to be up to a 30-percent chance right now. Nate Silver is shaking his head and wondering how the forecasting model went wrong, and the numbers keep climbing. The odds are still screaming Padres, which is horrifying. Not the part about Lincecum on the Padres, but the thought of anthropomorphized numbers screaming "Padres" with their only choking breaths. Both are terrifying, really.
With 20 teams attending on Friday, don't expect the results of the showcase to be secret. There will be reports, confirmed by several different sources, about how hard Lincecum is throwing and how his offspeed pitches are moving.
We'll also have another start from both Peavy and Cain before then. The new polls are coming in. I'd be embarrassed about writing the same article several times already if this weren't so hilariously compelling.