The Cincinnati Reds need creativity in the pitching staff.
Former Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum wants to come back to baseball, and the Cincinnati Reds should pay attention.
Lincecum did not pitch at all in 2017. In 2016, he had a 9.16 ERA in 38.1 innings. A series of injuries sidelined this former ace, forcing him into what many considered his retirement. He descended into cryptid like status after he was granted free agency at the end of the 2016 season. But now he is back, and he wants to pitch.
The 33-year-old will give a showcase to major league scouts this Thursday in hopes of landing a new contract. No one is expecting the same fastball that earned him two Cy Youngs in 2008 and 2009, but it doesn’t hurt to see what he can do. Prior to injuries, he and Homer Bailey were comparable.
Reds General Manager Dick Williams said the following on the subject:
"“I would say we’ll keep tabs on the situation. It’s not something we’re pursuing aggressively. It’s fair to say that we’ll get information and see if there is somehow an appropriate fit.”"
Lincecum is what the Cincinnati Reds desperately need: a veteran pitcher that comes with a small contract.
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No one knows how Lincecum will look at his showcase this week. Maybe he’ll return to the days of his twin no hitters with a fastball in the upper 90s and dominance beyond belief. Between 2008 and 2012, Lincecum pitched two no hitters, won two World Series rings (and another in 2014), earned two Cy Young awards, and was a four-time All Star. “The Freak” defined pitching during this period and there’s nothing saying he couldn’t do this again, now healthy (and jacked).
Or maybe he’ll have a year more like 2016, with an uncontrollable fastball and low stamina.
Even with his horrendous season, 2016 Lincecum would have brought the 2017 Reds team ERA from 5.17 (last in the National League) to 5.27 (still last in the National League). When you’ve hit rock bottom, the only way you can go is up.
This situation is very low risk, high reward for the Reds. One pitcher could not ruin an already atrocious pitching staff, but he could bring guidance to younger pitchers on the staff. The Reds could use him as a reliever (or maybe even a starter) when needed.
Now, I’m not saying that the Reds absolutely need to offer him a contract this second. No one but he and his trainers know what he is going to put out there this week. However, he definitely deserves a look from this team, especially as the team lacks veteran pitching. With very few downsides, there is no harm in sending a scout to Tacoma on Thursday to see what’s up.