*NOTE 8:22 AM, NYC: The original piece on Bleacher Report that was linked was significantly altered after mine was published. The words “herky jerky” were removed and the entire context was changed.
Reading the teaser headline and you’d automatically take the “news” on a slow day as an inviting and irresistible lure to read the article.
But clicking and reading reveals the truth and the truth is that there’s no “there” there.
I saw the mentioning of the words “Tim Lincecum” and “trade” on Twitter and instantly knew it was nonsense and/or trolling because: A) the Giants aren’t trading Lincecum; B) the Giants aren’t trading Lincecum; and C) the Giants aren’t trading Lincecum.
Being it’s a slow day (do the math), I checked the search engines to see if there was anything to explain this silliness in a sensible, reasonable fashion.
I found this on Bleacher Report in which a Lincecum trade is speculated.
In the next two years.
But not now.
Of course it’s ludicrous in every sense.
It’s ludicrous that Lincecum and Barry Zito are compared in any way.
It’s ludicrous that Lincecum is treated like a normal pitcher.
It’s ludicrous that the Giants are going to start a rebuild in the next two seasons.
How do you compare Lincecum to Zito? With the Athletics, Zito was a contact pitcher who benefited from being on a very good team and having great luck on balls in play. Lincecum has left lineups in ruins. Zito’s fastball could never approach the Lincecum fast lane in spite of Lincecum’s fastball having dipped slightly from its upper-90s heyday; he’s still plenty fast enough to strikeout 230 hitters a year. Zito is trying to trick people and get by on guile.
Zito’s margin of error was nonexistent and it’s worse now; Lincecum gets by when he’s off his game because of pure quality of stuff.
Lincecum cannot be compared to “normal” pitchers, nor can he be placed in any specific category because he’s been treated differently since the time he signed. The Giants were not allowed to alter Lincecum’s mechanics; this was one of the reasons so many teams were reluctant to draft Lincecum. It’s the same way today even as he has two Cy Young Awards and a championship ring; to this day I wonder what pitching coach Dave Righetti says to Lincecum when the pitcher is struggling and Righetti visits the mound. Do they talk about girls? The weather? Fisherman’s Wharf?
Because Lincecum has always been left to his own (and his dad’s) devices, he’s something of a closed society about which nothing can be physically determined in a sociological baseball study. The conventional rules don’t apply to him and, by extension, nor do the concerns.
With that in mind, it cannot be said that the skinny pitcher with the unique motion is going to replicate other pitchers whose arms blew out in year three of an eight-year contract. He’s altered all the rules so far and can’t be pigeonholed.
As for a Giants rebuild, forget it.
You may have a short memory of the way GM Brian Sabean runs his club, but going back to the Barry Bonds years, it was always build around the stars; ignore the draft and minor league system; and try to win with veterans to augment Bonds.
In short, Build Around Barry.
The concept that Sabean is “stupid” because he’s old-school and follows a blueprint that doesn’t emanate from new age statistics is easier to process than trying to understand what he’s doing, but if you look at it, it makes sense.
Bonds was the most dangerous hitter in baseball and the Giants were contenders as long as he was around; it made perfect sense to run the team the way they did during that time. When Bonds was gone, the Giants rebuilt through the draft with pitching and they finally broke through and won the World Series that eluded them with Bonds. Sabean isn’t going to tear the thing down by trading Lincecum for a package of youngsters because that’s not what he does. He’ll ride it as long as he can and move on.
Simply because there’s a media-created “genius” across the Bay who always has a reason (excuse) for doing the things he does isn’t a determinative factor in which GM is better. If you go by the flexibility in knowing what he has and what to do with it, Sabean is a successful GM also functioning under a budget, but without the lusty propaganda.
As long as the Giants have two star pitchers, Matt Cain and Lincecum; an All-Star talent, Madison Bumgarner; and a top-tier closer, Brian Wilson, they’re going to be competitive if they hit at all. Whereas they were built around Bonds 10 years ago, now they’re Timmy’s Team.
The linked column doesn’t stop with simple practical idiocy; it delves into unprofessional randomness by ignorantly calling Lincecum’s motion “herky jerky”.
Then it says: “You give an eight-year contract to a fully built workhorse, not a small-framed pothead.”
You can question his size—I’ve done it myself—but to call him a “pothead” considering what some other pitchers have indulged in (Dock Ellis pitched a no-hitter on LSD) is a cheap shot to “prove” a non-existent theory and add a tier to the reasons to trade him.
These “rumors” of a Lincecum trade are crafted by those who attempt to see into the “future” with their mystical powers of prescience and are providing generalities that can be adjusted after the fact to make it appear as if they were “right”.
On a quiet day on the baseball front, it’s a non-story to accumulate webhits and pageviews—something that Lincecum’s name is always good for.
Honest speculation of a possibility is one thing; a flashy headline designed to fool the reader isn’t.
It’s the perfect storm—at least until you read the content and realize you’ve been played. Poorly.