MARCH 7: Lincecum can take home an additional $500K in incentives tied to appearances, anther $500K in roster bonuses, $2MM based upon games finished, and $1.5MM for games started, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (Twitter links). There’s also a $500K payout if he’s able to earn the nod as the comeback player of the year.
12:02pm: The club has confirmed the agreement but says it is not quite finalized and won’t be announced today, as TR Sullivan of MLB.com was among those to tweet.
FEBRUARY 27, 7:21pm: Lincecum’s deal comes with a $1MM base salary and incentives to drive the salary up from that point, Grant tweets.
3:23pm: Lincecum has indeed agreed to a Major League contract, pending a physical, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The Rangers plan to utilize Lincecum out of the bullpen, where he could compete for a presently vacant closer’s role. Passan suggested earlier on Twitter that Lincecum could be a relief option in Texas.
2:53pm: The Rangers have struck a deal with righty Tim Lincecum, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). Presumably, the contract is of the MLB variety and pending a physical, though details remain unknown at this time. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter) reported the sides were nearing a deal.
Texas has steadily added arms all winter long, rebuilding a pitching staff that entered the offseason with little in the way of certainty. Lincecum, like some of the other newly acquired players, certainly comes with ample uncertainty of his own, but the overall picture of the staff is at the very least much more interesting than it was four months ago.
Lincecum represents a wild card for the Rangers’ staff. He was drubbed for 68 hits and 39 runs in 38 1/3 innings in 2016, did not even pitch in 2017, and has not posted a sub-4.00 ERA since 2011. But Lincecum also had a four-year run (2008 to 2011) as arguably the game’s best pitcher. More importantly, he reportedly impressed scouts with his form and fitness in a recent showcase.
Of equal intrigue to just how the two-time Cy Young winner will look is how the Rangers will use him. The 33-year-old has functioned almost exclusively as a starter throughout his career. But the Rangers’ strategy this winter has been to add flexible hurlers that can contribute multiple innings in any role. There are also some suggestions that Texas could consider utilizing Lincecum in a late-inning capacity, though perhaps the overall impression at this point is that the organization intends to mix and match as circumstances dictate rather than committing to traditional roles.