Jon Heyman, the de facto Tim Lincecum beat writer of the baseball world, has an update on the right-hander's market after Friday's impressive showcase. Not surprising: The Giants are reportedly interested.
Also not surprising: The Padres are reportedly interested, which still makes gobs and gobs of sense.
Most surprising: The Diamondbacks are interested, apparently. Dang it.
From Heyman's Facebook page:
The #WhiteSox, #Angels and #Diamondbacks are among teams known to have joined the San Francisco Giants with early interest in star free agent pitcher Tim Lincecum, who conducted the world's most-watched showcase by wearer of cargo shorts Friday.
The #Padres also are expected to be in the mix following the one-man tryout attended by the Dodgers, A's, Rangers, Astros, Marlins, Nats, Orioles, Astros, and many others.
The Angels have to be considered something of a front-runner, considering their absolute desperation, West Coast location, and pitcher-friendly park. Also, Jered Weaver would say things like, "Whoa, calm down with the fastball, Bob Feller, you're going to hurt someone" and the studio audience would laugh hysterically.
The White Sox make less sense, as they play in a place that's hard on pitchers, and Lincecum is attempting to rebuild his value. Still, they have a need, and I could see him going to the first team that guarantees him an opportunity. Also, they have his personal catcher, Hector S ...
White Sox have recalled RHP Miguel Gonzalez and reinstated catcher Alex Avila from the DL. Hector Sanchez designated for assignment.— Colleen Kane (@ChiTribKane) May 9, 2016
Oh, now they're totally out. Good luck signing Lincecum now, you fools.
The Diamondbacks are icky, of course, and the same caveat applies to the hitter-friendly park. But it would be closer to home, and in a division/league with which Lincecum is mighty familiar. Facing a pitcher every ninth batter is probably something a fella can get used to. That would probably tip the scales away from the White Sox, I would think.
The Padres would be a perfect, quiet team for whom Lincecum could do his thing without a lot of attention. The park is perfect. The team probably isn't going to be fidgety with a struggling pitcher in the middle of a pennant race. San Diego is on the West Coast and a delightful city. This would probably be my guess for the front runners.
Except Heyman also includes this tidbit:
The #Giants are expected to have interest in Lincecum at least as a reliever, tough after a successful showcase Lincecum is expected to have starting opportunities. The belief has been that both sides would like to stay together, if possible.
And no one is closer to this than Heyman. He probably has a pretty good idea of what Lincecum wants, and it shouldn't be surprising that he would consider staying with the only franchise he's ever known, the one that's about a promotion away from giving away life-sized Tim Lincecum body pillows, the one with whom he won two Cy Youngs and three championships. Let's explore the timeline of Tim Lincecum re-joining the Giants.
Back in January, Lincecum revealed plans for his showcase, and the Giants had a full roster. Chances of a reunion: 6 percent.
In February, Lincecum was reportedly throwing well, and the Giants were in camp. The roster was still filled, top to bottom, in theory. Chances of a reunion: 8 percent.
In April, the Giants were still in touch with Lincecum. Things were a little different. Matt Cain had some setbacks in the spring. Chris Heston wasn't the same pitcher as he was in the first half last year. There were injuries. The entire starting rotation had a miserable Cactus League experience. Chances of a reunion: 14 percent.
In that article, I guessed there was no way the Giants would be interested unless they "suffered from some sort of depth chart mayhem." Well, shoot, lookie here.
It's now May, and Jake Peavy and Cain are allowing about a run for every inning they pitch, on average. Clayton Blackburn has been underwhelming in Triple-A, and so has Heston. Right after Lincecum's successful (he didn't fly away on a golden pegasus after throwing 101, mind you) showcase, Peavy and Cain are set to face ... the Blue Jays! Oh, I'm sure Jose Bautista and Josh Donaldson are just the remedy for what ails them.
Chances of a reunion: 56 percent.
All numbers are are made up, of course, but you don't need a graph to see the direction they're trending. The showcase was a pleasant surprise, and the Giants have way more need in the rotation and bullpen than they did when rumors of the showcase first started. They're showing interest in him, which you would expect. Other teams in the NL West are showing interest in him, which you would also expect.
We'll check back in after Peavy and Cain throw shutouts in the first two games of this series.