Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Last Hours of Lincecum?

I went to the Giants game on Sunday, and watched Tim Lincecum throw 114 pitches, strike out ten, and make two mistakes, both solo home runs.... and when he struck out the last man he faced and walked to the dugout, I said aloud what many Giants fans were likely also thinking: “Was that the last pitch for Timmy in a Giants uniform?”

With SF in full implosion mode, (despite his line, Timmy lost on Sunday) I suppose Giants general manager Brian Sabean must at least listen to offers for anybody on the defending World Series Champions... but why would he get rid of The Franchise?

You can argue that Matt Cain is the number one on the Giants staff (you can also make a compelling argument that this year, everyone on the staff is going number two), but Lincecum is not some leftover piece of bad pizza. The only possible reasoning for trading him is that he is a free agent after this season and the Giants will likely want him to take a significant pay cut to return in 2014 and beyond, (he's making $22 million this season, I've heard SF will offer $15 or so if he stays.... and that somebody would scoff at $15 million a year is another column or seven anyway) so if he's not going to be back anyway, why not try and get something for him anyway?

There are several answers. One, that he probably will be back anyway. As a free agent, the Giants have first choice on him anyway (a “qualifying offer,”), so to get him, another team would have to go beyond the $15 million a year AND give the Giants draft picks. Um, isn't that what another team would be doing anyway if they traded for him now? Not only that, but to get him now they'd have to throw in prospects/actual major leaguers, not just draft picks. AND pay part of his current $22 million. AND then maybe only have him as a two-plus month rental anyway, because then he could go anywhere in free agency and leave the next team absolutely nothing.

The second answer is, have you noticed what the Giants have done the past few years? They won a World Series, they had a bad year, they won a World Series (with much of the same team as the year before), and now they have a bad year. Matt Cain, mentioned earlier, was dominant in 2012- a perfect game will allow use of the word “dominant”- but this year all of the Giants starters are having bad years. Timmy is now 5 and 11. Cain is 6 and 6. Ryan Vogelsong is hurt. (his wife Nicole Vogelsong, on the other hand, appears to be doing just fine). Barry Zito is winless on the road. Nobody makes the playoffs without at least one dominant pitcher. The Giants have no one, which means the bullpen is used more and more. And since SF can't score a run anywhere (Sunday they had the bases loaded with no one out and on the first pitch Buster Posey grounded into a 3rd to home double play- and they only got one run when Panda doubled to the left field corner), that just makes it worse for the starters.

Finally, public relations. The Giants have sold thousands of Timmy jerseys. The SF faithful want nothing more than Timmy to snap out of whatever is ailing him (and so does he, obviously) and return to Freak status. For SF to get rid of him- yeah, it's a business, but it would be a bad move with a team that's floundering so badly to get rid of one of the top two personalities on the team (the other is Buster Posey- Panda is just a character because he looks like an orange creamsicle on Friday nights). The fans are whining right now, they would go bonkers if Timmy got traded.

There's no reason for SF to do anything before the trade deadline. To trade Timmy would be a panic move. This season is done. Wait 'Till Next Year.  Every other year seems to be working out just fine for SF.