Timmy… Please Don’t!
Not too long ago I read a post in SB Nation that stated Tim Lincecum wanted to continue pitching in the major leagues. In order to do so he was working out with the goal of holding a showcase for any teams that might be interested in signing him. A few days ago I heard that several teams have expressed interest, although the showcase has not yet occurred.
All of this makes me groan. I live in San Francisco and watch a lot of Giants games. Back in 2008 and 2009, when he won successive Cy Young awards, every Tim Lincecum start was like Christmas. I looked forward to them with glee and was rarely disappointed. At times he was so dominant it was almost unfair. But the years and the innings pitched started to stack up and his effectiveness slipped precipitously. What was once a sterling ERA of 2.48 in 2009 ballooned to 4.74 in 2014. After the 2015 season his final contract with the San Francisco Giants ended and he became a free agent.
Now this showcase business is nothing new. One was held last season, and the California Angels, desperate for pitching, signed our man to a one-year contract. After three minor league starts (0 wins, 3 losses) he was called up to the big club. To say that he wasn’t very good would be charitable. In nine starts (2 wins, 6 loses) Timmy fashioned a 9.16 ERA. For those of you who aren’t into baseball statistics, ERA, or earned run average, measures the number of runs an opposing team earns against a pitcher over the course of a nine-inning game. That meant that in order to win the game whenever Lincecum pitched his California Angels teammates had to score 10 runs. Ouch!
I think what will probably happen is that another team, playing poorly and willing to take a risk, will sign Timmy, but this year it will only be to a minor league contract. After his performance in 2016, teams will be wary. As for me, I’m sorry to admit that I believe Timmy is done. It’s been a huge drop off, but it happens like that from time to time. If he makes it back to the majors this season, I’m not going to watch. Or if I do I’ll have two hands in front of my eyes like I do when I watch horror movies.
So Timmy, even though I understand that the competitive spirit still burns, I’m hoping that you hang ’em up. You’ll look great on your Giants Hall of Fame plaque outside AT&T Park. We’ll all remember you. I’ll remember you, and in my recollection, I’ll frequently think of this moment: