Throughout his career, Tim Lincecum has been an interesting figure to watch. As of the start of the 2016 season, he has four All-Star Game appearances,a Golden Spikes Award, two Cy Young Awards, lead the National League in strikeouts 3 times, two no hitters (against the same team) and three World Series titles. Impressive numbers. I know for a fact that every pitcher in the league would probably kill for numbers and awards like that. With numbers like that, you would think that he’s the most dominant pitcher in the game, right?
In addition to the highest of highs for Lincecum, he has also danced with mediocrity multiple times throughout his career. After winning back to back Cy Youngs from 2008-09, he literally lead the San Francisco Giants to their first World Series Victory in 2010, ending the 56 year drought. He pitched a two-hit shutout against the Braves in the NLDS, won the biggest pitching matchup of the 21st century against Roy Halladay in the NLCS, and won both of his games in the World Series against Cliff Lee- winning the Babe Ruth Award as the best player of the 2010 Postseason. A true underdog story.
The next few years would be different.
Now before I get into this, I just want to say that I am personally a huge fan of Lincecum, and believe that he has nothing to prove to any of his critics. He’s had a career that 99% of players would kill for.
In 2011, Lincecum had a losing record of 13-14. However, this was mainly due to the worst run support in all of Major League Baseball. He still had a great ERA of 2.74 and over 200 strikeouts.
2012 was when things began to look different for Tim. His record was a career worst 10-15, and he was overshadowed by fellow teammates Matt Cain and Barry Zito. He would be a relief pitcher in the 2012 World Series as the Giants swept the Detroit Tigers.
2013 was another year of inconsistencies for Lincecum, finishing the season 10-14. However, he threw his first no-hitter against the Padres in July.
2014 seemed to be a year of improvement for Lincecum as he improved his W-L record to 12-9, and threw his second no hitter (once again, against the San Diego Padres). However, he was left off the postseason rotation in favor of then recently acquired Jake Peavy- relegated to bullpen duty once again.
2015 once again was a season where Lincecum showed signs of improvement, but not dominance. He ended the season nearly a month early after complications from a hip injury. It was also his last season under contract with San Francisco, making him a free agent. After a new experimental surgery on his hip, Lincecum scheduled a workout for multiple teams. It kept getting delayed. As of Opening Week 2016, the workout has yet to happen.
What is next for The Freak?
On the one hand, labral hip tears are not the easiest thing to recover from- especially being a pitcher. On the other, if Lincecum has recovered to a point where he can pitch well, there’s no reason he couldn’t play for at least a couple more seasons. In fact, there is one team that comes to my mind that could use his help.
What team am I referring to?
The San Diego Padres! The team he’s thrown two no-hitters against! The team that began the 2016 season 0-3 with zero runs! The team that somehow kept Tony Gwynn for 20 years! The team with one of the creepiest mascots in all of sports!
Here’s a few reasons why:
Reason #1: PETCO Park is EXTREMELY pitcher friendly
Ever since it opened in 2004, PETCO Park has been notorious for its deep outfield dimensions and sea air preventing balls from travelling too high. It got so bad that the Padres literally had to adjust the right field wall in 2006 to make it easier on offenses. The adjustment period for Lincecum could be relatively painless as he’d go from pitcher friendly AT&T Park to PETCO Park.
Reason #2: He would have veteran presence in the pitching staff
San Diego is still a young team. In a controversial move, they fired longtime manager and fan favorite Bud Black. The Padres have gradually improved their offense with the additions of Upton, Kemp, and Jay. Lincecum would be a welcome addition to the bullpen, and possibly the rotation if he shows enough promise.
Reason #3: The fans would love it
Lincecum has always been a class act and fan favorite throughout his career. With the signing of him, San Diego would have a superstar pitcher to supplement the star power of offensive giant Matt Kemp.
Reason #4: Both parties (at this point) have nothing to lose
Now on the one hand, I hate people that make assumptions based on the first week of the season (Matt said despite publishing his Postseason predictions). With that being said, I think it’s fairly obvious that San Diego will not be winning a World Series title in 2016. They won’t even win the NL West or a Wild Card spot. The Padres are rebuilding. Lincecum could get signed to the Padres and act as a leader for the team as they grow and develop over the next few years. Even if he’s only on the team for a couple seasons, that’s two more seasons where we get to watch The Freak play ball, and that is a situation where everybody wins.