Sunday, June 21, 2015

End of Tim

It was the shortest outing of his career but it felt plenty long to me.  Tim Lincecum lasted a paltry 1 1/3 innings and picked up a well deserved loss as the doggers avoided the sweep and stayed in first with an easy 10-2 victory.  The highly vaulted LA offense broke out on a Father's Day matchup that is best forgotten but may well have long term ramifications. 

Lincecum sure did not give his father much of a present (1.1 innings, 7 hits, 5 earned runs, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts).  To be fair, Tim did look very good TO THE FIRST TWO BATTERS and then it all fell apart. Wild pitches, fat 0-2 pitches, basically pitches that he had no idea where they were going.  I'm not a pitching coach but I'm pretty sure that is not a good thing.  Considering two starters are likely to return this week, I can not conceive of a worse time for Tim to lay such a turd.  In what universe can we possibly leave Tim in the starting rotation now?  Granted Petit looked just as bad tonight (3.2 innings, 5 runs on 4 homers!) but Vogie, Heston and Hudson have all been sharp.  We just have too many starters for Lincecum to stay. However, we also have too much bullpen depth to find a place for Tim too. I mean do we really think that Tim can handle the current Strickland role? And we send down Strickland just because he has options left? I suppose Petit may have played himself out of a bigger role with the batting practice that he threw tonight. So Tim can take over the garbage/long role....except what about Vogelsong?  So many questions, so few answers.

I do not truly believe that the Age of Tim is over, even though I used the provocative title.  But I do think it is safe to say we are entering another era in the amazing career of Tim Lincecum. Is this the beginning of the end....or another exciting new role? What do you think?


M.C. O'Connor said...

It was bad. Anyone can get lit up, but it seemed like Tim just threw in the towel. Tapped out, man. Shocking. Not the fact that he pitched poorly, just that it all fell apart so fast and once it started going downhill there was no return. I thought Hudson was going to get blistered last night after those homers, but he found a way to get outs and got the job done. Tim just disappeared. I don't know what's next for The Freak. I hope he can find a way to get his mojo back.

carmot said...

I hate to say it. And I mean it really pains me... Timmy isn't a very good pitcher any longer. He's living more off his past reputation than his performances. Sure, he's thrown a few gems- including a no-no I was at at AT&T.

But, basically even a 4.65 ERA pitcher (from 2012 to present) can spin a few gems here and there. I mean, look at 2014 Uggla. He had a crazy two-day stretch last April when he batted .500 avg and 1.806 OPS- had 2 HR, 7 RBI. In a season where he went .149/.229/.213/.442. Dang. Carlos Villanueva was the WORST MLB starter last season (with at least 5 starts). 10.53 ERA. He's got a shiny 1.01 ERA in 26.2 IP as a reliever this season. Miles Mikolas had 10 starts for a 6.44 ERA last season. That included his final start 0 ER, 1 BB/5 SO, 8.0 IP. And two starts of only 1 earned run in 5 innings. Let's not have people only cite Lincecum's great starts, we need to review the entire body of work. No bueno.

I loved watching and following Timmy. He brought me much joy and excitement. But now I feel like his roster spot is more valuable than he is to our club. Sorry loyalists. Fans can cite his potential, like his no-nos or good months. But filling our bullpen with sub-90 mph 5th starters just because we're too loyal to do anything else is not a great plan, IMO. As mentioned, we DO have bullpen depth. How are we going to integrate a guy like Osich or Okert to take over for Affeldt next season when we've filled our pen up with guys we won't release? Who aren't even relievers anyways?

Are we eventually looking at our Core-4, plus Huddy, plus Timmy in our pen? Then gotta have Kontos (out of options). Petit and Machi are also out of options. No Strickland, no Broadway. No Law, Black, Hall, Okert, Osich, Cordier, or other called upon. And 8 bullpen arms means only a 4-man bench. In the NL, where we know Bochy is loathe to use his back-up catcher. And two of the bench guys already are McGehee and Arias. The third is Maxwell. Huh. Yeah, oh great. During a time without Pence. Wonderful roster planning. Not.

Thing that's most upsetting to me about Lincecum... He's a veteran now. Still hasn't improved his move to first base. Still can't hold runners. Still has issues with backing up bases. I kept expecting him to smooth these out and be a pro about doing his diligence. Never happened. Still walks a fair share of batters. Now, he doesn't even have stuff. Dang.

Ron said...

You can't be 'effectively wild' with an 88-mph fastball, unless you can spot your off-speed stuff for strikes at-will (a la Maddux, Glavine, Hudson, etc.). Tim can't do that. He's all over the place with everything.

The most telling thing for me was the 'in-game interview' (I hate those things) with Bochy. He sounded truly exasperated ... like he has completely lost faith in Lincecum. Te me, it said everything about why he couldn't trust him to pitch in the 2014 post-season.

I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. After all, before it got really bad, during the same AB, he struck out Pig looking (it was called a ball), then struck out Pig swinging (Umpire called a foul tip, even though it wasn't), then gave up the 2-run single to him. But, what followed was a total meltdown, & they couldn't get him out of there fast enough.

Not being a big Peavy fan, I'm not sure why he's automatically in the rotation. However, Tim can't be in that group at this time. Vogelsong & Hudson are still credible Starters, so it should be MadBum, Cain, Heston, Vogelsong, & Hudson, but something tells me that Peavy will get in there at Vogelsong's expense.

And, what's up with Petit? He has basically been crappy all season, culminating with an abomination last night. He was so awesome during the last 2 years. He probably is the one who goes to Sacramento for a bit.

Brother Bob said...

The Peavy report: "In what was likely his last rehab start with the River Cats, Peavy continued to impress on the mound. The veteran right-hander went 6 strong innings, yielding just 1 run on 5 hits and 2 walks while striking out 3. He threw 93 pitches on the afternoon, 61 of them for strikes.
Despite not winning a game while with Sacramento, Peavy (0-2, 5.47) continued to improve with every start."

M.C. O'Connor said...

Seems hard to pick Hudson over Peavy, assuming Peavy is healthy. Hudson is giving up more hits and homers and striking out fewer batters than most any other time in his career. And he's 40. And he pitched terribly in September last year, too. Peavy's 12 starts last season were pretty damn good overall--if I'm a gambling man I bet on Peavy delivering more quality starts in the second half than Hudson.

JC Parsons said...

I hate to say it but salary figures are going to play a role in this decision, not just the 5 best starters. Aren't we paying Peavy a huge amount? (@ Ron, I completely understand your dislike of the guy, I hated watching him when he was a Pudres and it isn't much better now, except he is damn good, just not in KC) And of course Tim is still making 18 million or so this year. I doubt we eat either one of those contracts, so like it or not they are on the team. I've said all along that Hudson is not likely to last the entire season but they will start him until he has nothing left. I think that Vogie is going to get thrown under the bus on this one. No matter how he does, I bet he gets let go, ie offered a chance to stay around in the minors if he clears waivers. Maybe Petit. He sure has been treated like crap considering what he has given us, so maybe he is the one that gets the axe. Damn, this 25 man roster thing is a bitch.
Do you think someone would give up a mid prospect for a paid for Tim in a trade? That would be a mind blower... I mean I know the chances of Tim being a Giant next year are rather slim, but I'm not ready to see him in a different uniform yet

carmot said...

Hey JC. Yup, you have the salaries right.

Lincecum = 18M this season on the final year of his contract.
Hudson = 12M this season on the final year of his contract.
Peavy = 11M and will earn 13M in 2016.
Vogelsong = 4M (has performance bonus clauses) on his one-year contract.
Petit = 2.1M this season, will be arb-3 in 2016 and is out of options.

All three of Timmy, Huddy, and Peavy have full no-trade clauses. Machi is also out of options. The hard part isn't just getting somebody to waive their no-trade. Partly the issue is the Giants just seem too loyal to go that route. Also, most of the teams who are bottom-ranked in starter TEAM ERA aren't going anywhere at all: MIL, COL, PHI. No way is a guy like Timmy going to the AL East to save their season in TOR, BOS, or BAL.

Another part of this problem is how to solve it? How would the Giants even FIT an acquisition into the rotation? Obviously I don't think you do it for Leake. We can't "afford" the prospect price of a Cueto rental. Maybe the only guy would be Kazmir- uh, whoops. Oakland & Beane ain't dealin with EvanSabes.

The final part of this problem is payroll. We're guaranteed to bust the CBT/Luxury Tax this season if we keep everybody. We project to be over by +3M already. Even without a single September call-up, we'd still project to be over by 2.5M+.

So, even if the G's want to offer the dignity of allowing a clean slate to one of these guys to remain a starter on another team... Even *if* we ate all but MLB minimum salary... What possible motivation would one of these teams have to pick him up? Racing to the #1 draft position for 2016 is maybe as good as anything for them- draft is expected to be deep with talent.

Only trade I *might* see happening is one I'd fear most of all. We swap a contract (like Lincecum- who I *highly* doubt would waive his no-trade to pitch in Miller Park for his walk year), we get Garza + Aramis Ramirez + a little salary relief. Oh please, no.

So? We push out bullpen guys like Strickland and/or Petit and/or Machi. We still go with 8 bullpen guys. We lose all sense of role players from our pen to keep a heap of "long relievers." We shorten our bench to 4 guys. Which looks to be three (Arias, McGehee, Maxwell plus the not-often-used PH back-up catcher, Susac) for the time being... Bats can all stay timed to 87-91 mph; with guys like Vogey, Huddy, Cain, Peavy, Petit, Lincecum, Kontos, Lopez, and Romo. None bueno. Damn.

(sorry so long). Cheers.

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

OT: Sad news about former Giants player:

Murder-suicide (he was murdered).

Zo said...

The Giants can make creative use of the DL. I'm guessing Hudson, give him a rest (and Comcast Spurtsnet hinted as much) and in the meantime see how Peavy and Cain can perform. No guarantees that they will be as healthy and effective in multiple starts as they seem to be in the minor leagues. I'm guessing Tim or Yusmeiro or Jean Machi gets DFA'd and I'm guessing it is not Tim. He may replace the bullpen guy that is gone. It strikes me that Vogie has earned another start - so has Hudson for that matter, but he might benefit from some rest more so than Vogie. Maybe Heston, as effective as he has been, goes down for awhile. That doesn't seem like the best pitching answer, and I think in the end, the Giants make a decision based more on pitching and less on loyalty or salary.

M.C. O'Connor said...

My god, what a sad tale. Sometimes we forget these ballplayers are people, too.

Someone is going on the DL, either one of the Tims. If it were me, it'd be Hudson, as Lincecum has shown he can be effective out of the 'pen. Timmy could really use some time in AAA to rebuild his game and find a groove again, but I'm not sure he'd go for that. He ought to, though. "Bone Crusher" Broadway obviously still has options, as does Strickland, but I think Strickland needs to stay. Petit is the obvious other candidate to open a roster spot.

Petit has struggled this year (9 HR in 41 IP!), or to put it better, has returned to something closer to his career norms. Giants got two excellent seasons from him in a difficult role. I don't understand how he has been mistreated by anyone in the organization. They took a marginal guy and helped him find some success, used him where he was most effective, and he got new life in baseball (three more seasons) and a ring! But, he's now on the bubble and may get cut. I love the guy--I always love the Andre Torres types who persist and persist and barely make the grade and then perform superbly--but our minds are a bit clouded by a couple of huge individual games. And the record, of course. But if Petit really were a full-time ML starter he'd be one already. He'd be trade material, someone would be calling and saying "we want that guy in our rotation." But he had 5 quality starts (out of 12) last season, and out of 57 career starts only 19 were the "6 IP, 3 R or fewer" variety. Arizona cut him loose in 2009 and it took three years for him to make the majors again. I hate to say it but I think we've seen the best from him and at age 30 he will likely not regain that form again (I'm assuming he's not under-performing due to an injury).

The Giants are a game and a half back of a team that everyone expects to run away with the West. And this is with the rotation issues: injury, inconsistency, under-performance. If Cain and/or Peavy are healthy then goddamn let's get 'em some turns in the rotation! Like I said before too many arms is a good problem to have. How many years did we watch this club trot out has-beens and under-developed youngsters and try to fake us into believing it was a competitive rotation? No more, man. Make the grade or lose your spot. They are big boys, they understand that they have to deliver what's expected of them. And they've set the bar high for themselves!

M.C. O'Connor said...

Machi will probably get DFA'd when his DL stint is up.

Ron said...

Another factor in the potential decisions: Hudson & MadBum are inseparable, in the dugout, during batting practice, & off the field. I don't think that Hudson is going anywhere, unless his status changes overnight from Giants Pitcher to Giants Coach.

nomisnala said...

King Felix had a similar outing last week, and then came back to shutout
the giants. Felix may lose tonight though unless Seattle comes back. Let
us see if Timmy can come back from his miserable performance in a game against
the giants arch nemesis, a game for first place honors. Sometimes good pitchers
have bad days. It does irk the fan base when he gets two strikes and throws a
batting practice pitch down the middle, or throws a wild pitch to let a run in.
And then, on the next batter the first pitch is a beauty over the corner, the next
pitch again a beauty, and then another 2 strike batting practice pitch. That has to
be as much mental as it is physical.

Mark Spence said...

The Age of Tim ended two years ago, and more anxious hoping won't change that basic fact.

M.C. O'Connor said...

"Anxious hoping" is the lifeblood of the sports fan!

Brother Bob said...

I predict that some time in July I will go see Tim Lincecum pitch at Raley Field. And he'll throw a no-hitter.

El said...

Sometimes good pitchers
have bad days.

But Tim has been the opposite of a good pitcher for 3+ years.

As for comparing him to King Felix, well, have terrific day.

JC Parsons said...

@ nomisnala : Yea, the Felix comparison was a bit of a stretch. I knew someone would call you on that. ( Didn't MadBum have a one inning 9 run explosion a couple years ago?) You are right , good pitchers have bad days. Day to day is a funky way to judge a player, which is why everyone throws back the YEARS of Tim problems and negative trends. I absolutely agree that the "irksome" factor, ie the annoying way Tim self destructs, is a big part of it. We are constantly questioning his mental fitness rather than just his mechanics. There is no easy answer to his woes, so we assign blame to his character. And that may actually be the real problem too.

@carmot : Never apologize for such a long, well thought out response. We here at RMC are lucky to have such quality contributors. And I'm not just saying that because we are in total agreement and you made my arguement much better than I ever could (thanks btw). I have loved The Freak from the moment he took the stage ( before really) and I have to constantly be reminded of the actual situation, otherwise my emotions cloud my judgement. Your conclusions seem spot on. I had a dream of some miracle transaction, but there is no logic to that. Our team strength, the bullpen, is going to be greatly challenged. As you say, none bueno.

@MOC : Actually my feeling that Petit has never got his "due", "respect" or "break" is largely linked to Lincecum. As we all know, Tim has the entire organizational backing (salary, guaranteed spot in rotation before spring, etc) and that is as it should be. It is based upon his service and contribution to our glory from years past. It is how we roll and AGAIN it is as it should be. Tim did little or nothing in the last march to fame, however Petit was HUGE. He basically replaced Tim, right? He also has gathered some individual fame that is actually quite amazing but easily glossed over (besides the incredible record, remember how he just missed a perfect game?). He is definitely having a tough time in one of the hardest, most worthless roles on the team right now, but it seems like it would be brutal to just cut him loose. He earned the #5 role coming into spring but Tim displaced him. Now it looks like Tim may knock him off the team entirely. I understand it but it makes me sad. Guess I just like those Amish beards.

Mark Spence said...

The Age of Tim ended two years ago, and more anxious hoping won't change that basic fact.

nomisnala said...

Timmy's motion is complex and he can easily get out of wack. But
8 miles per hour on the fastball suggests either injury or a completely
different release point that he cannot seem to get back no matter how
he tweaks his mechanics. As far as the mental situation goes, I cannot
exclude it. How do you remain in the league 8 years and still cannot
hold runners on base, and breeze along a game and then walk the pitcher
on 4 pitches. Because he has still had streaks of brilliance the last
few years, the fan base has hope that he can find it, but every time
he implodes with 90 pitches through 4 innings, with 4 walks and 6 hits,
3 walks and 2 key wild pitches, with 3 or 4 stolen bases, it just seems
hopeless. He may truly be a Jekyl and Hyde pitcher.

JC Parsons said...

Believe me, I have used the Jekyl and Hyde reference many times over the last couple years of Tim blogs. Which is especially sad because I always felt that Tim's biggest strength during the glory days (besides the strikeout pitch) was an amazing ability to give quality start after quality start. I'm too lazy to look it up but I remember The Freak being an absolute machine, cranking them out. Nowadays , a quality start from Lincecum is a pretty big event and if he puts 4 or 5 together everyone is talking about his Rebirth ( by everyone I sorta mean me ).

I guess the rotation won't change this weekend, as they are giving Cain and Peavy each another rehab. Seems like they are just postponing in a tough decision. Like Zo said, they will just do some sneaky DL moves for a while anyway. Wanna bet Petit or Lincecum show up with a tendinitis we never heard of before?

Aoki with a broken bone! Damn! That will probably wreck his chance to play in the All Star game, which is a shame, but it really sucks for our offense. Especially since Maxwell looks like he owns that #8 spot. Can he bunt? Anything would help. I already miss the crafty Japanese photo op at the top of our order. He has been a real pleasure to watch.

Brother Bob said...

Bear in mind he's probably stoned out of his skull all day.

JC Parsons said...

The other really sad thing about having Aoki out of the lineup is I no longer get the pleasure of hearing my wife sing her silly Aoki fight song rendition. She has been making a point of singing to him almost each AB; obviously it started during an 11 for 18 stretch that Nori had a couple weeks ago so there was obvious mojo. Hey I was there! There was big time MOJO. You know how it is. I think he got on the first nine times she did it, something crazy like that. Anyway, I really miss that silly song.

Anyone have a silly superstition they are quite proud/embarrassed about? Or we could talk about MadBum getting Cained last night...