The Washington Nationals are currently in a position to stock up on pitching depth, which makes Tim Lincecum a very intriguing rotation candidate.
The Washington Nationals are currently lacking a fifth starting pitcher, but appear willing to hold a Spring Training competition for the spot. As of right now, A.J. Cole, Erick Fedde, and Tommy Milone would compete for the job, but more options would not hurt.
If the Nats are open to handing out a few minor league contracts with invitations to major league Spring Training, Tim Lincecum certainly deserves a look.
Lincecum, now 33, emerged as an elite starting pitcher with the San Francisco Giants in 2007. His prime, albeit brief, was marvelous. He has certainly fallen from grace since then, but he is still one of the most decorated players in the league.
Throughout his career, Lincecum has won three World Series, two Cy Young Awards, led the National League in strikeouts three times, was named an All-Star four times, and pitched two no-hitters. Somehow, most of these accolades occurred between 2008 and 2011.
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Unfortunately for Lincecum, his delivery never seemed healthy nor repeatable, and it eventually caught up to him. After vast regression with the Giants, he moved down the California coast and joined the Angels.
With the Angels, Lincecum hit rock bottom. He was given a shot in their rotation, but struggled immensely. In nine starts with the Angels, he went 2-6 with a 9.16 ERA.
Now, after spending 2017 away from baseball, Lincecum is attempting a comeback. He was recently pictured working out with Adam Ottavino in his home state of Washington, and appeared to be in amazing shape. Although Lincecum once resembled a string bean, he has put on quite a bit of muscle. Perhaps, this will allow him to return to form.
Lincecum, himself, has not made a public statement, but Ottavino and the owner of Driveline Baseball, the facility he was pictured at, have said that Lincecum is attempting a comeback and will pitch in a showcase soon.
If Lincecum is actually attempting a comeback, the Nats should be first in line to take a flier on him. There is little to no chance that Lincecum will receive more than a minor league contract with an invitation to major league Spring Training, so there is practically no risk involved.
If the Nats sign Lincecum to a minor league contract and he impresses in Spring Training, then he can fill the hole in the rotation. If he struggles in Spring Training, then he can either be released or pitch in the minors; no harm, no foul.
Although it may be unlikely that Lincecum ever returns to the major leagues, he is certainly worth taking a chance on. When paired with the minimal risk involved, his potential to become “The Freak” again is irresistible.