Tim Lincecum threw baseballs at a catcher, and we got to watch. After months of speculation and delays, we all got to pretend we were scouts and look for signs that he could help a major league baseball team.
His velocity? In the low 90s, topping out at 91. His offspeed stuff? Occasionally gnarly. His outfit? Uh, functional.
I'm no scout, but he'll get a major league contract.
Before we start, we should note that early in the showcase, Lincecum let a return throw from the catcher get by him, and he had to chase the ball. This led to an important trollface from the catcher.
And would it kill them to move the center field fence in by 10 feet? Anyway! You're here to see Lincecum pitches.
And the GIFS. Please ignore the file names, as I realized quickly that I couldn't tell what was what in Photoshop.
First up, the slider:
Ayup. That's a nice slider, right where the catcher would have wanted it in a two-strike game situation, I'm guessing.
The change (which he didn't throw much):
It's pretty whiffly, alright. And it's at this point that we should exercise caution. I've haven't watched Matt Cain pitch to imaginary batters in a controlled setting. He might look just as impressive, especially if he knows he needs only to throw three dozen pitches.
But the change looked good. And so did the curve:
Nnnnnnrrooooom, straight down. Before the showcase, Lincecum's father went out of his way to praise the curve. You can see why.
Not all of the pitches were beauts, of course.
Paul Goldschmidt was sitting in a clubhouse somewhere, when he started to feel all tingly. He couldn't explain it. Then he got up and started to dance. It took four clubbies to wrestle him down.
And that's the tricky part about this: trying to figure out what will work in a game situation. The margin of error is so, so fine. Look at Max Scherzer, who has the same stuff he did two years ago, but because he's +- -+ that far off with his command, he's a dinger-allowing machine now.
He was hitting his spots, for the most part, though.
That isn't a whack-me pitch in a whack-me zone. Of course, we'll never know, because there's an invisible batter up there. Maybe the invisible batter was invisible spitting on the pitch.
Possibly my favorite of the lot, as you can see the catcher preparing for the high fastball, and Lincecum put it where it was supposed to go, if just a touch too high to be really tempting. It would have been a fine 0-2 pitch.
Not that we have any idea of how effective it would have been.
The showcase was rather exciting, which is funny, considering that last season Lincecum was just about the most unwatchable pitcher on the staff. He disappeared for a year, and now we're excited again! It's as if absence makes the heart grow ... super needy, or something.
Don't forget that the Giants have already seen him throw.
Giants assistant GM Jeremy Shelley is heading the Giants’ contingent here, and some minor-league coaches will be on hand, but the team already is familiar with Lincecum’s standing. GM Bobby Evans and senior VP Dick Tidrow watched the pitcher in a private session 10 days ago.
They right-clicked, opened an incognito showcase, and they're keeping quiet about the results. Since then, they've maintained their assertion that they would be interested in Lincecum, but mostly as a reliever, and nothing has changed on that front. However, think about what they can't say:
Bobby Evans: Jake Peavy is trash. Matt Cain is trash. We're desperate, so desperate. We'll probably give Lincecum $20 million, to be honest. And then we still need another starting pitcher right away. I'm not sure what we're going to do. Do you know of anyone who might be available? We're all kind of freaking out over here.
No, there's no advantage to that. Not externally, with the Giants competing against other teams if they want to sign Lincecum, and not internally, with Peavy and Cain being veterans and Good Giants who deserve respect.
I have no idea if the Giants will want Lincecum, to be honest. But I remember what an anonymous scout once said about Barry Zito in his darkest hour. The scout said, "If I were scouting him at a college game, I wouldn't even write him up." It was brutal but descriptive.
That's not something an anonymous scout would say with Lincecum right now. He'll get a shot. It's up to the Giants to determine if he's even-year gold or even-year pyrite.