Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Tim Lincecum...Um, No Thanks

I seriously had to laugh while listening to a Bay Area sports radio program (shall remain nameless) yesterday. The host suggested that the Dodgers should seriously consider signing former Giants' pitcher, Tim Lincecum, to fill the void left by Brett Anderson's back injury. This is one of the "treats" I get as a Dodger fan living in Giants' country. I have a few things to say about why the Dodgers should never pick up "Timmy."

One of the few times Schmidt pitched for
the Dodgers
The Jason Schmidt Rule: 
Of course, there isn't officially a Jason Schmidt Rule, but there should be; never, ever, sign your rival's trash. Former Dodgers GM, Ned Coletti, having left his assistant GM position with the Giants to join the Dodgers in 2005, decided it would be a great idea to bring Schmidt to the team for three years and $47 million dollars. The problem was that Schmidt was old, damaged goods (the team knew he had a partially torn rotator cuff when they signed him), and only played six games over two years after tearing his labrum. So, would the Dodger front office dare to go down a similar minefield-laden road with Lincecum? The Giants gave up on Lincecum this offseason because he underwent surgery to repair a torn left hip labrum and a hip impingement. If the Giants don't think he has anything left, why would the Dodgers? Not to mention the fact that Lincecum and his agent keep pushing back the showcase for teams wanting a look at him. Something smells here.

Lincecum's right arm should be the definition of "hard miles.
Probably time for Lincecum
to wipe that smirk off his face.
Setting aside the issue with his hip, Lincecum's arm has slung 1,700 innings (including 56 in the playoffs) in 9 seasons. While that is a fairly moderate average of 188 innings per season, there has always been a lot of concern that Lincecum's unorthodox throwing motion (they don't call him "the freak" for nothing) puts extra strain on his arm and body. His recent hip problems and the steady decline of his numbers since the 2011 season seem to bear out this theory. It's a shame Tim and his father wouldn't listen to the team about his weird motion when he was coming up through the minor league system. But I digress. Plain and simple, Lincecum's arm and injury history suggest he would be a bullpen player, if anything at all.

The Dodgers have plenty of in-house options:

Brandon Beachy is on the inside
track for the #5 slot...
(photo courtesy Cindy Murphy)
...But not if Mike Bolsinger can help it!
(photo courtesy Cindy Murphy)
It's both annoying and amusing for a Dodger fan to listen to these Bay Area talking heads. Clearly, many (I am not saying all) of them don't do much research outside of the local teams. If they did, they would understand that Lincecum is not even on the Dodgers' radar because of the depth the team has been busy building since the new front office took over. The Dodger minor league system is stacked with potential replacements for Anderson, including Mike Bolsinger, Brandon Beachy, Zach Lee, Jharel Cotton, Ross Stripling, Yasiel Sierra, Jose De Leon, and Julio Urias. Some of these young guys are more likely to be tapped for 2017 (standouts Urias and De Leon), but the other six are considered targets to take the #5 slot in the rotation until either starter Hyun-Jin Ryu or Brandon McCarthy return in May or June. 
Yasiel Sierra could also play
his way into the #5.
(photo courtesy Cindy Murphy)

Bolsinger did a nice job filling in last year and may have the inside track, but several of these other guys have huge upsides and are considered major-league-ready. Beachy and Strippling were on the fast-track before needing Tommy John surgeries, but both are recovered and ready to go. Sierra is another one of the team's recent Cuban signings; he is 24 and experienced from pitching parts of four seasons for Cuba. Cotton is another pitcher who has been putting up solid numbers in the Dodgers' minor league system. Also in the mix is Lee, who pitched two great innings in his first spring start last week and has worked his butt off climbing the minor-league ladder. This type of competition will bring out the best in these young pitchers--one of them will surely rise to the challenge and take the #5 slot. 

With this many options, the Dodgers have absolutely no reason to break the Jason Schmidt Rule or do the Giants any favors with Lincecum.

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