The Detroit Tigers will watch Tim Lincecum throw. If the two-time Cy Young winner performs well, could be a fit with the Tigers.
The 2015 season taught us a lot about the Detroit Tigers. We learned that J.D. Martinez is a star-caliber player. We learned that Blaine Hardy and Alex Wilson are dependable and effective relievers and that Justin Verlander is an ace again. We also learned that the team needed serious help.
However, the biggest thing gleaned from the Tigers 2015 season was that a lack of depth can torpedo a team’s season.
Detroit used a staggering 26 different pitchers last year. That number jumps to 27 if you include infielder Josh Wilson.
In a piece on ESPN.com, Katie Strang reported that “the Tigers will be among the many teams in attendance when free-agent pitcher Tim Lincecum holds a showcase, general manager Al Avila confirmed to ESPN.com on Saturday.”
While this may be nothing more than checking in, it is a positive sign that Detroit’s brass is constantly on the lookout for upgrades.
However, if the interest is serious, there is high upside with Lincecum.
The Washington native has 108 wins and a 3.36 ERA in his first nine Major League seasons, which has included consecutive Cy Young Awards and four straight All-Star appearances.
The 31-year-old found considerably less success after the 2011 season. He’s led the league in wild pitches twice in the last four years, and led baseball in earned runs in 2012. Lincecum posted 38 losses and a 4.76 ERA from 2012 to 2014.
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Despite the struggles, the right-handed pitcher seems to be turning a corner. He went 7-4 with a 4.13 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 15 starts that spanned 76.1 innings pitched.
Lincecum throws a fastball, a two-seamer, a slider, a curve and a changeup. According to FanGraphs, his fastball is the best of the pitches in terms of velocity, checking in at 87.5 mph. Despite the low number, the former Washington Husky has never been a flamethrower. He’s made a career out of missing bats with stuff as opposed to heat. He’ll be fine, even with a fastball that sits below 90 mph.
As far as a potential fit with Lincecum and the Tigers go, the pitcher would likely be in the mix for rotation work. It seems unlikely that Detroit would block Daniel Norris with Lincecum full time, but the former Giant could work as a swingman.
Lincecum would be able to lessen Norris’ workload while providing quality innings. In addition the two time Cy Young winner could evolve into a dynamic reliever. It was four years ago, but Lincecum was dominant against Detroit in the World Series when coming out of the pen. In 4.2 innings pitched he allowed one base runner and struck out eight. It’s an extremely small sample size, but the potential is there.
Will the Tigers Sign Him?
Time will tell, but it all likely comes down to how much general manager Al Avila likes his team’s pitching depth.