Written by David Schoenfield at ESPN.com
The last we saw of Tim Lincecum was in 2016, when the two-time Cy Young winner signed with the Los Angeles Angels in May following a showcase tryout, made nine starts and was the worst pitcher in the league. He pitched 38 innings, gave up 68 hits, including 11 home runs, posted a 9.16 ERA, and his 2.374 WHIP was the highest for a pitcher with at least 30 innings since 1997.
So with reports circulating that Lincecum will sign a one-year major league contract with the Texas Rangers, the obvious question is why will this season be any different?
Lincecum had another showcase session on Feb. 15 at the Driveline Baseball facility in Kent, Washington, outside of Seattle, where he threw in front of scouts from 15 to 20 teams. Reports from the session indicated Lincecum threw about 25 pitches exclusively from the windup and hit 93 mph while averaging between 90-92. He showed no signs of the hip injury that bothered him at the end of his Giants career and required season-ending surgery in 2015. In December, Rockies pitcher Adam Ottavino posted a photo on Instagram of a ripped Lincecum working out in a sleeveless shirt.
So what do we know? Lincecum is in great shape. He can maybe hit 93 mph throwing at max effort at an indoor baseball facility. He’s well-rested after not pitching in 2017 and is now more than two years removed from the surgery. He obviously knows how to pitch, although precision control was never his forte.
This is obviously a complete roll of the dice by the Rangers, a minimal investment with the hope you hit the lottery. The most likely scenario would see Lincecum pitch out of the bullpen, where he would be a better bet to hold his velocity over short stints. With the Angels, his fastball averaged just 87.7 mph. One writer suggested that with the Rangers’ closer job wide-open, Lincecum even has a chance to win that role.
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