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Clear A Path For Lincecum?

Tim Lincecum is doing everything he can to prove he's ready for the Majors - he posted a 14K, zero walk effort yesterday.  His stats are off the charts after five starts.

Whether or not there's an open spot in the Giants' rotation, it's clear that Lincecum is one of their 12 best pitchers.  He needs to be helping the big club right now, though I believe waiting until June to promote him could delay his free agency by a year.

The Giants' rotation consists of Matt Cain, Barry Zito, Matt Morris, Noah Lowry, and Russ Ortiz.  All have ERAs at 4.50 or below, so it'd be tough to replace one of them with Lincecum right now.  Zito and Cain aren't going anywhere, and Ortiz looks like a possible decent bargain as a fifth starter/innings eater. 

The two trade candidates in my eyes are Lowry and Morris.  Lowry, a 26 year-old southpaw, still hasn't rediscovered his strikeout rate from '05.  He's young enough to find it, but a sub-4 ERA isn't in the cards unless he does.  Morris, 32, has a 3.34 ERA in five starts and some say he's returned to form.  The numbers don't lie, though - more walks than strikeouts, plenty of hits.  He's going to make $20MM over 2007-08.  He's the one to sell high if at all possible.

Even with Bonds in the lineup, the Giants can't get on base to save their lives.  Some players are just slumping, but there's plenty of room for upgrade at first, third, and right field.  Morris or Lowry might be able to bring in a decent bat to complement Bonds.

More likely, of course: the Giants just stand pat and wait to see if one of the starters really flounders or gets hurt.  After another dominant start or two they could bring Lincecum up to get his feet wet in the pen, a la Francisco Liriano.  But whatever the route, this kid needs to be starting for the Giants by June.

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abreu for lowry right now.. melky or even bring up tabata to play right..get it done cashmoney!!

Lowry would be demolished in the AL east. I don't know what's up with him but you don't just cut your fly ball rate in half from one season to the next.

My guess is he would be much more in demand than Morris - he should be the one to trade in my opinion.

Morris should have slightly positive trade value. But like Morris, Lowry has the not only the the deceptive numbers but also a good contract, age, and handedness on his side. If he can fetch a good hitter, I say do it.

Problem is, like the Dodgers, the Giants love clogging up their offense with mediocre veterans. If you get an upgrade at 1st or 3rd, what happens to all the "proven veterans" they're paying millions to that currently man those positions?

An upgrade in the bullpen might make more sense. I don't want Morris or Lowry on the Yankees but Morris for a Proctor-type might make sense. Lowry should fetch a little more. Problem is, who has these relievers to trade?

If Gagne was healthy, Lowry for Otsuka seems like it makes a lot of sense.

This kid is going to be a monster

abreu for lowery? jeez that's a steep price. if the yanks are interested then i'd think melky + a good prospect would get the deal done. bobo's right though, he wouldn't survive for long in that division

I wonder if the Rays would let go of Jonny Gomes cheaply. He's not really going much over in St. Pete besides warming the bench. I think it would be an interesting gamble to see if with a change of scenery he could rediscover his pre injury form of late '05 early '06.

"Bring up Tabata to play right" might be one of the funniest things I've ever read on this site, and there are plenty of howlers every day. A few other points...

1. Yanks can't trade Cabrera with Damon and Matsui constantly injured. They have zero OF depth at AAA or even AA to help right now, and Cabrera can play all 3 OF positions.

2. Lowry is a fly ball pitcher and left handed...those are both good traits to have if you're pitching at Yankee stadium. The problem is, the Yankees OF is terrible defensively.

Lincecum may be "pushing the issue", but why break something that isn't broken? Let him continue to dominate AAA hitters, and when Ortiz falls on his face, bring him up. He has MUCH more value in the rotation than the bullpen, and these people who continue to say he profiles as a reliever are nutso. His delivery has a lot of kinks, and when he gets out of whack, he loses his control. Do you really want to thrust someone like that into high leverage situations?

Having him pitch once or twice a week in mopup duty would be detrimental to his development. If they don't have a rotation spot for him, leave him at AAA.

Bullpen work wouldn't be detrimental to his development. It's exactly what Francisco Liriano did last year, with plenty of mop-up in there.

Either way would work fine, but if the Giants don't have 12 better pitchers, Lincecum should be in the Majors. It's that simple. Why are we waiting for Ortiz to fall flat on his face? If Lincecum is better than he is right now, move Ortiz to the pen and start Lincecum.

I threw out this idea over on minorleagueball.com, so I'll toss it out here too. Why not piggyback Lincecum with say Ortiz or Morris? Let Ortiz or Morris start the game, go 5 innings unless they're really struggling. Then you bring in Lincecum to go the last 4 innings. He stays on a regular schedule that way, and gets plenty of work against MLB hitters. Once Morris dealt or Ortiz falls apart, Lincecum slides into the rotation. Seems like a better idea than sporadic relieve work.

Seriously, the argument that "Russ Ortiz isnt that bad right now" is not an excuse here. Lincecum is better, and the Giants need wins. You put your best team on the field every chance you can, and he should be there. Plus, I have him sitting on my fantasy team, and I really want those K's.

"Bullpen work wouldn't be detrimental to his development. It's exactly what Francisco Liriano did last year, with plenty of mop-up in there."

...and where is Liriano now? Sure, he has terrible mechanics, and that's part of the reason he got hurt, but how many real good SP can you think of, off the top of your head, that started out in the bullpen as top prospects and developed into great SP? Santana was a Rule 5 guy, he wasn't even a top prospect.

Look what the Dodgers did to Billingsley. They put him in the rotation, then the bullpen, and he doesn't look like the same guy that was blowing through AAA last year. I know Earl Weaver was big on breaking guys in via the bullpen, but that was also the era when relievers threw more than 1 inning on a consistent basis.

Lincecum's arm seems really durable, so he might be able to bounce between the rotation and the bullpen, but it's a risk, especially for a commodity as valuable as his right arm could be. I'd either bump Oritz from the rotation now and just insert Lincecum, or I'd let him take his turn every 5th day in Fresno. Or, if you're going to use him in relief, I think you use him on a schedule, in the 8th inning or something, not putting him where he might pitch 2 innings once a week.

Couldn't agree with you more James.... It's one thing to establish your mechanics as a starter and then go to the bullpen such as John Smoltz or Tom Gordon... They have already established their foundation for being able to throw from the windup as well as the stretch coming straight into the game.. It doesn't effect their arm angle, release point, the strain on their joints when they release... For a guy who hasn't established those things at the major league level it's a completely different story... If Lincecum starts coming into games from the stretch he could effect his good solid mechanics that he has already established as a starter and it could start effecting his health like Liriano and so many other young pitchers...

Plus, back in Weavers' day, not every single reliever coming into the game threw from the stretch whether there were runners on base or not... Most threw from the windup to start an inning... It's kind of a recent thing that relievers have started going to the stretch on a permanent basis.... Well at least in the last 10 years or so...

No point in starting his service clock before you have to anyway.

Why did the Mariners pass up the hometown kid again in last year's draft? I see Brandon Morrow appears to be doing all of jack squat comparatively.

Russ Ortiz isn't getting kicked out of the rotation. The Giants organization loves him and they're paying him nothing for quality innings. Plus he can consistently go 8 when Lincecum will have his innings watched. Their best opportunity would be to package Lowry and Jonathon Sanchez and see what the trade winds can bring in terms of a big name bat.

Russ Ortiz isn't getting kicked out of the rotation. The Giants organization loves him and they're paying him nothing for quality innings. Plus he can consistently go 8 when Lincecum will have his innings watched. Their best opportunity would be to package Lowry and Jonathon Sanchez and see what the trade winds can bring in terms of a big name bat.

It appears I jinxed Russ Ortiz, maybe there is room for Lincecum. I still think Sabean will choose to leave him downstairs until he has a good reason to pull him up. If the offense can't score runs, theres no point in paying extra money for an extra month or two.

It appears I jinxed Russ Ortiz, maybe there is room for Lincecum. I still think Sabean will choose to leave him downstairs until he has a good reason to pull him up. If the offense can't score runs, theres no point in paying extra money for an extra month or two.

Lincecum to start against Philly on Sunday Night Baseball. Ortiz to the DL

Tick tick tick tick... another team mismanages the service clock.

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