Should the Astros entertain the possibility of signing former Giant Tim Lincecum?
Per Brian McTaggart of MLB.com, the Astros are showing up to the Tim Lincecum showcase that is taking place this upcoming Friday. They will be one of the 20 teams checking out the former starting ace.
On the surface, this appears to be nothing more than the Astros checking out a pitcher who happened to be really good not very long ago. After all, Lincecum did win two consecutive Cy Young awards in 2008-09, so the possibility of adding a 31-year old pitcher with that track record is intriguing.
The primary issue with Lincecum in recent years is the astounding drop in effectiveness. Achieving ace status early on in his career, the “Freak” has been on the fringes of the rotation ever since the 2012 postseason. In fact, the 31-year old right-hander only appeared in one game during the Giants World Series run in 2014 as a reliever. Most of his recent troubles can be attributed to health issues and a drop in velocity, which has seen him pushed to the bullpen at various times the past few years.
However, FOX Sports is reporting that Lincecum is throwing up to the low nineties, which is encouraging for a pitcher that succeeded earlier in his career with an average fastball speed of 91-92 MPH. That would be a substantial jump from his average fastball velocity of 87.5 MPH last season when he was a starter in the Giants rotation.
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The Astros could use another starter with Lance McCullers still on the mend, and the overall lack of production from the rotation. However, the fact that Lincecum doesn’t throw hard may not make him a great fit for the Astros. Don’t forget that outside of McCullers, the Astros have no other power arms in the rotation. But at this point the team mustn’t be too concerned with how hard Lincecum could throw; instead the notion should be if he can be an effective starting pitcher once again.
Odds are though that the Astros won’t make a commitment on the veteran right-hander. Lincecum is rumored to be interested in reunion with the Giants, and there are at least 18 other teams taking a look at him Friday. The money required to sign Lincecum, who just came off an $18 million salary in 2015, may not be the type of investment that the Astros are willing to make.
Regardless of the financials, the fact that the Astros are checking Lincecum out is definitely something to keep an eye on. With the team struggling so much out of the gate, there could be a change coming to the rotation if certain things don’t work out.
**Statistics provided by Fangraphs**