The Angels, Diamondbacks, Giants and White Sox are the four teams who have been the quickest to show interest in Tim Lincecum, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports. The Padres are also expected to join the hunt to sign the two-time Cy Young Award winner. Given that the majority of MLB teams had scouts in attendance at Lincecum’s showcase on Friday, it wouldn’t be surprising to see more clubs emerge.
Lincecum has long been considered as a possibility to return to the Giants and there is mutual interest between the two sides, though it’s still unclear whether the club is adamant about using Lincecum only as a reliever or (as he prefers) as a starting pitcher. The Padres and Angels have also been linked to Lincecum, and given how both teams have been plagued by rotation injuries this season, they seem likely to be more open to using Lincecum as a starter.
The White Sox are a logical suitor for Lincecum given the club’s desire for rotation depth in the wake of John Danks’ release. Erik Johnson, Miguel Gonzalez, Jacob Turner and Chris Beck are all on hand as fifth starter options for Chicago, though Lincecum offers much more upside if he can even partially resemble his old Cy Young form. While Lincecum could be intrigued by the idea of joining the first-place Pale Hose, geography could be an issue if (as the Orioles’ Dan Duquette noted this morning) Lincecum indeed prefers to pitch for a team “west of the Mississippi.”
The D’Backs are a new name in the Lincecum sweepstakes. Arizona starters entered today’s action with a 5.41 ERA, the second-highest rotation ERA of any club in baseball. Zack Greinke sports a 5.15 ERA (though advanced metrics indicate that he has been unlucky), Shelby Miller has pitched very poorly and none of Patrick Corbin, Rubby De La Rosa and Robbie Ray have looked much more than average. Pitching at Chase Field could be something of a hard sell for Lincecum given that he would likely prefer to rebuild his value in a less hitter-friendly ballpark; he has a 4.72 ERA in 76 1/3 career innings at Chase Field against the Diamondbacks.