Jon Heyman is reporting that the Padres are showing interest in super-villian Tim Lincecum. The skinny little freak with the long hair, whose knuckles scraped the dirt at both ends of his delivery, scraping the filth off the mound and splattering Pollock-esque masterpieces all over the box scores. Padres fans know him as That Jerk Who No-Hit the Padres Twice.
This is the same guy that won back-to-back Cy Youngs. If you don't remember baseball before 2012, he used to be really good. Historically good. From 2007-2011, Lincecum was absolutely dominant. His ERA over that stretch was 2.98, and he racked up nearly ten K's per nine innings. His ERA+ over that five-year stretch was 137. He combined a high-90's heater with nasty off-speed stuff in the dirt, hurled from an unusual delivery only made possible by exceptional flexibility and athleticism.
2011 was a long time ago in baseball years. Since the 2011 season, his ERA+ has plummeted to a sub-standard 75. The fastball has lost its zip. The off-speed stuff isn't as nasty. The body that contorted like a slinky to harness every ounce of power in his slight frame seemed to have lost the ability to coordinate so many moving parts flying in formation toward the strike zone. He was diagnosed with a degenerative hip condition, receiving cortisone injections into both hips as recently as last summer. He was effective out of the bullpen for the Giants down the stretch in 2014, but he still sees himself as a starter. In 2015, all 15 of his appearances were starts. The Giants might have kept him from reaching free agency if he had been more willing to accept a reduced role.
Lincecum says he's healthy. Apparently a "showcase" was going to happen in January to demonstrate that he's healthy and still has "it". Supposedly this event will happen in February. As the offseason ticks down, teams are starting to look for the final pieces to fill out their staffs. Yovani Gallardo and Mat Latos (ugh) are the top of the remaining class of free agent arms, but guys like Doug Fister, Bronson Arroyo, Alfredo Simon, and Chad Billingsley are looking for work. Still, Lincecum's name holds weight around the league. Some are even calling for AJ Preller to make a move before seeing a single pitch.
The Padres certainly have reason to kick tires. Tyson Ross, James Shields, and Andrew Cashner are the top of the rotation, but beyond that, it looks to be a mishmash of question marks; Brandon Morrow, Colin Rea, Brandon Maurer, Odrisamer Despaigne, Drew Pomeranz, Carlos Villanueva, Luis Perdomo, and Robbie Erlin all figure to compete and contribute for a role in the Padres' rotation in 2016. A veteran starter who can eat innings all season long would stabilize the situation in a big way.
Can we forgive Big Time Timmy Jim for not one, but two no-hitters? We found a way to adopt Matt Kemp after trading in his Dodger blue, and he returned the favor by taking a big monkey off our collective backs. I didn't think I could get used to seeing "Kemp 27" on the back of a Padres jersey, but by the end of the season, we cheered him as one of our own. What would it take to accept The Freak as a Friar? If he gave us a no-no, I think I could find a way.