Former San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum is looking for a new MLB team, and rumors are swirling regarding his potential destination. After completing a showcase in front of the scouts of numerous MLB teams last week, it appears as though it may come down to three different franchises — the San Francisco Giants, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and the Chicago White Sox. While the Giants and Angels remain in the mix, the latest report believes that the White Sox are the favorites to sign Lincecum.
As Fox Sports reports, Lincecum is looking to join the starting rotation of the team that signs him. While he was once a great pitcher, he has not finished a season with an ERA under 4.00 since 2011. Regardless of Lincecum's struggles in recent seasons, his name is still highly regarded among MLB franchises. His former team, the Giants, knows him the best, and they only view him as a relief pitcher at this point in his career.According to Scout.com, the White Sox do view Lincecum as a potential starter in their rotation, and that gives them the best odds to sign the two-time Cy Young Award winner.
"More than 20 teams attended the showcase of free agent right-handed pitcher Tim Lincecum last Friday in Scottsdale, Arizona, but many of those teams are now being ruled out, almost a week after its completion. The Chicago White Sox are showing interest in the 31-year-old veteran as a starter, as they are the "likely favorites," according to a major-league source with knowledge of the situation."
With a record of 24-13, the White Sox are currently leading the AL Central division. While returning to San Francisco is probably the most appealing option for Lincecum, the White Sox may offer him the best chance at winning another World Series this season.
At 31-years-old, it is unlikely that Lincecum is able to become the pitcher that he once was. Since he is now five years removed from being a dominant starter, he is going to have to accept his role as a starting pitcher in the backend of a team's rotation. If Lincecum struggles early, he may find himself back in the bullpen, a place that he does not prefer.
In his younger years, Lincecum's fastball regularly clocked in at 95 mph or faster. While a dominant fastball is not required to be successful in the MLB, it does help make up for any mistakes that are made with regards to pitch location. Injuries, specifically a hip issue, caused Lincecum's fastball to dip to around 85 mph last season. While it is possible that a left-handed pitcher can be successful with a below-average fastball, a right-handed pitcher is going to struggle if he is consistently clocking in at less than 90 mph.As reported by Fox Sports, Lincecum was fairly impressive in his recent showcase. While his fastball was not back to 95 mph, it did consistently hit 88 mph to 91 mph. At its peak, it even hit 92 mph.
"The 31-year-old right-hander mixed up his pitches and hit most of his spots during his showcase, consistently reaching 88 mph to 91 mph on the scouts' radar guns. He felt good after and now hopes to catch on with a big league team soon, preferably as a starter."
The biggest hurdle for Lincecum is his durability. While a fastball of 90 mph is adequate for a right-handed major league pitcher, it really cannot go much lower. Being a successful pitcher is more about location and changing of speeds, but there has to be some zip on the baseball. If Lincecum can average 90 mph on his fastball for at least six innings, there is a chance that he can be a successful pitcher in the backend of the White Sox rotation. If he starts losing velocity on his fastball after only a few innings, he is going to struggle mightily.
With former San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum still unsigned, rumors will continue to connect him to the Chicago White Sox. Since the White Sox are reportedly willing to give Lincecum a chance to join their starting rotation, they are currently the favorites to sign him.
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