Tim Lincecum will likely not be out of baseball for much longer. Jon Heyman of the MLB Network is reporting that the two-time Cy Young Award winner is close to signing a deal with the Los Angeles Angels.
sources: 2-time cy young winner tim lincecum is leaning toward the angels. could happen today.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) May 16, 2016
Jeff Passan later added that the deal will be a Major League contract. It’s likely that the opportunity to start factored into his decision, as other interested teams were not willing to offer that.
From 2007-2011, MLB didn’t have many better pitchers. In that time, Lincecum posted a 2.98 ERA, 1.188 WHIP and struck out nearly 10 hitters per nine innings. It was also in that window that he won both of his Cy Young Awards, in 2008 and 2009.
Since then, things have been different. Lincecum’s strikeout rate from 2012-2015 was down, though 8.4 strikeouts per nine innings is still a very good rate. Unfortunately, he backed that up with with a 4.68 ERA and 1.402 WHIP. While both of Lincecum’s no-hitters came in the 2012-2015 window, the good moments were few and far between.
The San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners had previously said they were not interested in The Freak. His old team, the San Francisco Giants, and the Chicago White Sox were interested, but likely only as a reliever.
At this point, the Angels can’t be that picky. Thanks to a rash of injuries, their pitching staff is in complete shambles right now and it makes complete sense for them to roll the dice with Lincecum.
Additionally, from a pure baseball standpoint, this is a good landing spot for Lincecum.
While the American League is generally the more difficult league to pitch in, this is potentially a pretty soft landing for Lincecum. Like his old home of AT&T Park, Angels Stadium is generally a very fair park for pitchers.