Boston Red Sox potential pitching FA bargains

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Jun 21, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Tim Lincecum (55) in the first inning of the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Tim Lincecum: 2015 stats: 7-4 W/L, 15 G, 76.1 IP, 75 H, 38 BB, 60 K, 4.13 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 4.29 FIP

Many species migrate and so does the baseball pitching species – or should migrate be replaced with transition? And, with Lincecum the transition is from a hard thrower who relied on a dominating fastball to one where secondary pitches are now used a tad more than in the glory days. The key is the fastball is now in the speed territory of Uehara and not of the “Tiny Tim” that led the National League in punch outs three straight years back when Cy Young Award was a staple of his career.

One thing is quite certain and that is salary – do not expect Lincecum to remotely approach the earnings of his last two seasons. A second issue is Lincecum’s walks. Walks are, to me, the Ebola of pitching and “Slim” can be a plague with that as a career BB/9 of 3.5 will attest. A spin-off of walks is usually another disease and that is a wild pitch. Three times “The Freak” has led the National League in that dubious stat.

So why Lincecum? This is now a 31-year-old right-hander who appears to have played out what many expected to be a Hall of Fame career. Again, the low risk and high return of someone who wishes to reestablish their prominence or to discovery another niche – say, the bullpen – to reinvent themselves.

Next: Red Sox can learn from Cy Young winners

The primary concern is how Lincecum can rely on his secondary pitches working off what has become a mediocre fastball. Can that be accomplished and with a bit more control? Someone will find out in 2016 and it could be the Red Sox.