Following up on Sunday's rumor: Giants general manager Brian Sabean expects pitcher Tim Lincecum to remain in San Francisco at least through the end of his current contract, which expires at the end of this season. "I find it hard to believe we'll see Timmy in another uniform this year," Sabean told KNBR, via Hank Schulman.
An NL exec called a deal that would send Lincecum to Detroit as a right-handed reliever "far fetched," CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports. However, a no-trade clause won't be at fault. Eight teams are listed on Lincecum's no trade list, but neither the Tigers nor the Red Sox -- also in need of bullpen help -- are among them, according to Heyman.
Beyond putting the bargaining pieces on the board, the stumbling block is an obvious one: A starting pitcher who has a couple of Cy Young awards to his name and who just threw a no-hitter may not be happy to make the move to relief duty a few months ahead of free agency
But even if they do, it's still extremely hard for baseball executives to imagine any starting pitcher -- much less a two-time Cy Young winner who just threw a no-hitter -- happily agreeing to go to a new team to take a new role in the bullpen.
It's worth remembering Lincecum has spent time in the bullpen before. After a rather down season in 2012 -- he finished with a 5.18 ERA -- he pitched out of the pen for the Giants in the postseason. He also made two relief appearances against the Tigers during the World Series. For the postseason his ERA was 0.69 in 13 innings.
Based on comments on Twitter and here at Bless You Boys, I suspect most fans would be quite happy to leave Lincecum in San Francisco. The idea was unpopular from the start. Proven late-innings relievers and closers seem to be much more on their minds.
But if we've learned one thing about Tigers president/GM Dave Dombrowski, it's that he likes to surprise. And if we've learned two things, the second is that big names and big trades don't scare him away either.
So, yes, a deal for Lincecum seems as unlikely as it ever was. But with the Tigers, never rule it entirely out.