Red Sox should take a chance on free agent pitcher Tim Lincecum

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 05: Starting pitcher Tim Lincecum
SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 05: Starting pitcher Tim Lincecum /

Low risk and high reward is the enticement for the Boston Red Sox to kick the tires on signing former CY Young Award winner Tim Lincecum. Sometimes a shot in the dark hits!

Tiny Tim is on the comeback trail and I will give Tim Lincecum a far more optimistic outlook on succeeding than Rafael Palmeiro, who recently announced at age 53 he is pondering a comeback. For Lincecum, the potential for success is far greater since the two-time Cy Young Award recipient is diligently applying himself to restoring a once Hall of Fame-bound career.

Lincecum has worked out with Driveline Baseball and according to Yahoo’s Jeff Passan the righty is “throwing hard again,” but that can be a relative term.

What is known is Lincecum hit the skids as hard as any recent pitcher in baseball with a staggering 9.16 ERA with the Angels in 2016 – his last MLB season. Lincecum’s noted fastball had deteriorated to Jamie Moyer speed and the result was a 2.6 HR/9 and a 5.4 BB/9. Walk ‘em or let them swat it out of the yard.

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The Boston Red Sox have done little – at least so far – to fortify the bullpen or rotation with players best described as “risks” or “projects.” In 2017, we were offered up Kyle Kendrick and that clearly can demonstrate the risk, but then a Doug Fister can show sometimes a helpful cog can be found.

Is this even worth looking at? Why not? But – of course – the qualifier is just dumping money on a player whose chances can best be termed a “long shot.” Sometimes teams do that and case in point is Drew Smyly who gets a $10 Million two-year deal from the Chicago Cubs. Smyly won’t be able to pitch in 2018 thanks to (surprise) Tommy John surgery, but his arm will be healthy enough to sign the checks.

Lincecum needs to establish value and the best way to do that is simply hook up with a team on a minor league deal or a camp invitation. Often escape clauses are worked into the agreement to allow a player to pursue options elsewhere if not added to the MLB roster by a specific date. For the money, it is low-ball with plenty of incentives.

Then comes the issue of why would Lincecum want Boston? Lincecum is a west coast guy who has spent his career with the Giants and Angels.  The Washington State native may just wish to stay in his safe space out west.

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The key to advancement is all dependent upon Lincecum’s return to anything resembling his salad days with the Giants. Even a lights-out spring training could relegate Lincecum to a stint in the minors.  My assumption is Lincecum knows the drill and the risks – no team is going to invest a boatload of money and time, but from the Red Sox perspective I would take this as the ultimate low risk and potentially high reward situation. Just think Luis Tiant.