A day after San Francisco starter Tim Lincecum threw a no-hitter against the Padres, his name has been tied to the Detroit Tigers by Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi. Here's what he had to write about the possibility:
Multiple sources told me recently that some teams - the Tigers are one - have interest in acquiring Lincecum as a reliever for the stretch drive. Of course, that presumes that the Giants will become sellers at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. That's far from certain, even with a 43-50 record.
That and he's owed the rest of a $22 million salary in 2013. Not that a few dollars has ever stopped the Tigers from making a decision.
Lincecum is 5-9 with a 4.26 ERA (and 3.34 FIP). His strikeout rate remains at around 25 percent while his walk rate is about 10 percent. As I wrote for SB Nation Sunday (please read?), the Freak appeared to have the years catch up to him and for the past season and a half has not been the same pitcher we came to expect. His fastball wasn't the same, and batters were finding a lot of success against him. And now he just made a 148-pitch start to complete the no-hitter -- what kind of repercussions might that have?
Although the possibility of Linecum being traded to the Tigers had never even crossed by mind, Wendy Thurm (who writes for several places, including FanGraphs and Sports On Earth), offered the Tigers as a possibility in Bay Area Sports Guy in June. Why would a team with a stocked rotation want to acquire Lincecum?
Lincecum's new team would get a pitcher with experience in a division race and in the postseason, one who showed in 2012 how effective he can be in short bursts. Lincecum would have the opportunity to showcase his abilities out of the ‘pen, in advance of free agency.
Thurm suggests the exchange bring a back-end-of-the-rotation starter under control through at least 2014 in return. Thurm suggests a three-team deal be made if necessary. The Tigers do not exactly have a lot of depth -- all of the candidates the Giants might ask for are needed by the big league team, so any trades would be parallel moves at best. So if a Lincecum deal were to happen, that might be the way it would go.
As far as relieving, we saw him find success doing so during the playoffs in 2012. He made six appearances, including a 4 1/3 inning stint during Game 4 of the NLCS that helped his team stave off elimination. During the World Series against the Tigers, he pitched 4 2/3 shutout innings, struck out eight and allowed only a walk.
If you were putting chances to any deal between the teams happening, I think you'd have to go pretty low. The Tigers will almost certainly -- though never say never -- not end up with Lincecum. But the idea is intriguing, and at the right price it just might work.