Tim Lincecum used to be one of the premier pitchers in the entire MLB. He won the Cy Young two years in a row, and was an all-star four years in a row. To say he’s had a fall from grace since then would be a massive understatement, but I’ll say it anyways, he’s had a tremendous fall from grace. The San Francisco Giants are coming off a supreme let-down of a year, and will likely be looking to make some changes. Matt Cain had an off year, but finished incredibly strong, putting up a 2.27 ERA in his last 10 games. Yusmero Petit became a pleasant addition to the Giants’ rotation, as he went 4-1 with a sub-4.00 ERA, and Madison Bumgarner was solid as always, so Lincecum may be the odd man out in the rotation he used to be the ace of.
Of course, the Giants are currently negotiating an extension for Lincecum, so this may all become moot, but if he does end up riding the free agent wave, the Astros should be one of the primary teams of interest for Lincecum. They can give him a fresh start and a much bigger roll than he had in San Francisco.
The Astros are a tad lacking in the experience department, and while their starting rotation is really coming along, it might be in their immediate benefit to nab someone like Lincecum. He may not be the prototypical veteran that you look for in a player, but the guy has won everything a pitcher can win. He would be more than helpful to the young rotation and he is only 29, so he can still contribute to a team that is growing towards success.
Coming off two very down years, there’s no reason to believe that Lincecum won’t be readily available, and he’ll have suitors, no doubt, mainly given his talent in past years. But the Astros have incredible room for payroll expansion, and while Lincecum won’t be cheap, he could be grabbed for cheaper than he’s really worth, given his recent lack of success.
Owner Jim Crane has already committed to making a splash in the free agent market, so why not start it off with Tim Lincecum? A change of scenery would likely do the enigmatic pitcher some good anyways.