The Dodgers were one of the teams to watch Tim Lincecum’s showcase, and now they are one of the finalists to sign him.
Tim Lincecum a Dodger? That would be a bizarre twist in the Dodgers-Giants rivalry, but that is reportedly a possibility now as the Dodgers and Rangers are said to be the finalist for Lincecum’s services. It is unknown what role the Dodgers would want Lincecum to fill, but given that they are supposed to be offering a Major League deal, a bullpen role is probably the most likely scenario.
With the Dodgers having five strong in the rotation and strong depth behind their starting five, Lincecum’s only guaranteed role is going to be one in the bullpen, at least with the Dodgers. The “Freak” last appeared in the big leagues in 2016 with the Angels, and his stats were pretty awful as his ERA was over nine.
In his regular season career, Lincecum has not fared too well in relief as he appeared in fifteen innings of relief and posted a 4.80 ERA with only 4.8 strikeouts per nine innings. Lincecum has bulked up this offseason, and while that doesn’t guarantee he will throw in the mid 90’s, it does mean he is in tip-top shape and ready to give his major league career another go.
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Lincecum has been working out at the Driveline baseball facility that has helped pitchers get their careers back on track. The Dodgers have made it a routine of turning reliever reclamation projects into successful setup relievers with guys like Joe Blanton and Brandon Morrow the past few seasons. Tom Koehler was already signed to be this year’s reclamation reliever, but with the Dodgers able to spend a few million and still stay under the luxury tax line, this would not be a bad gamble to take.
With this year’s spring training starting earlier than usual, there is still plenty of time for Lincecum to get into game shape and be ready to go for opening day. One question facing a potential deal is if Lincecum would be willing to start the season in the minor leagues? If he is then the Dodgers, stand a good chance of signing him and keeping him in their organization. If he is not willing to go to the minors, then the Dodgers would need to send relievers with options like Fields, Liberatore, or Garcia to the minors to start the season.
The other question surrounding a potential deal with the Dodgers is what role does Lincecum want to take? The Rangers are going to be willing to offer him a rotation spot as they are in a rebuild of sorts, where the Dodgers do not have the luxury of rotation spots. If Lincecum wants to start then bank on him signing with another team but if he is willing to come out of the bullpen then perhaps we just might see another longtime Giants star in Dodger blue.