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The Giants should trade Tim Lincecum? Really?

Nov 4, 2011, 11:00 AM EDT

Tim Lincecum AP

In trying to chart a course for the San Francisco Giants, Jon Paul Morosi is either thinking outside the box or trolling. I’m not sure which:

So if the Giants wish to maximize their odds of returning to the World Series, they have two choices.

1. Spend big for Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes or at the very least Carlos Beltran.

2. Trade one of those prized starters for impact bats, because the day is fast approaching when the Giants won’t be able to afford them all.

And if the Giants blanch at the going rates in free agency, the most practical move might be to trade Mr. Two-Time Cy Young Award Winner himself. Yes. Lincecum.

I get the idea that to get something you gotta give something, but this seems rather extreme. Both in terms of what to obtain — the most expensive free agent bat on the market — and in terms of what to give up to do that — one of baseball’s truly unique and valuable pitching talents. There’s no middle course here? Say, trading Matt Cain instead and upgrading the offense on an incremental basis?

Maybe the Giants could swing a winning trade involving Lincecum and still be successful in the short run, but I can’t shake the notion that most of the time, if you’re giving up the better player in a trade, you’re losing that trade.

  1. SmackSaw - Nov 4, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    I imagine him in Petco. It wouldn’t be fair.

  2. halladaysbiceps - Nov 4, 2011 at 11:09 AM

    Trade Tim Lincecum? Whoa….time for a reality check. I think everyone needs to light up a fattie, calm down and think this one through. Where Lincecum’s stash at?

    • El Bravo - Nov 4, 2011 at 1:03 PM

      Hey man, I’m the one who peppers the marijuana innuENDO into these comments, not you! Although I respect your comment and agree with it, it should have come from me, dammit! Now stick THAT in your pipe and smokith it!

      • halladaysbiceps - Nov 4, 2011 at 1:12 PM

        [getting my zippo, lighting it….dragging….cough!, cough!]

        Thanks for the hit, Pedro.

  3. drmonkeyarmy - Nov 4, 2011 at 11:11 AM

    Wilson Valdez is a suitable replacement for Jimmy Rollins, the Giants should trade Tim Lincecum….yep, it is officially the offseason where baseball writers have nothing better to do then write crazy nonsense.

    • paperlions - Nov 4, 2011 at 2:31 PM

      ….and these are the people that vote for the MVP, CY, ROY, and HOF….yep, those honors are in good hands.

  4. poseidonsfist - Nov 4, 2011 at 11:14 AM

    Morosi isn’t even the first big name writer to suggest such a thing this off-season, or even in the last 24 hours.

    • phrontiersman - Nov 4, 2011 at 11:17 AM

      In the wake of that Votto trade proposed by the same writer a couple days earlier, I think it’s a blessing that attention was distracted from this, too.

      • marinersnate - Nov 4, 2011 at 1:02 PM

        Yes, need to consider the souce. His “article” on his proposed Votto trade made for hilarious reading. Hard to beleave that anyone takes this guy serious anymore.

      • philsieg - Nov 4, 2011 at 1:18 PM

        Hate to get in the way of a good thrashing, but the Lincecum entry was penned by Dave Cameron. The Votto piece was written by Matt Klaassen. Both were posted to the oft-linked Fangraphs, which is a tad different than Morosi and Fox Sports. Fangraphs trades in in-depth analysis. If you actually read the articles, you will realize that neither writer is actually advocating the trades outright, but simply analyzing the conditions for both trades to make sense to the Giants and the Reds. Whether those conditions are achievable is another matter, best left to the respective GMs.

    • aaronmoreno - Nov 4, 2011 at 11:36 AM

      Jesus Montero and Eduardo Nunez for a couple of years of Tim Lincecum? I think the Yankees make that deal, and the Giants just give up.

  5. Jonny 5 - Nov 4, 2011 at 11:16 AM

    After giving SF a break on his last contract, Trade him? Really? That would be absurd as it’s likely he’ll sign a contract for much less than he’s actually worth just to stay in SF. Lose lose for SF. Morosi, or Moronsi?

    • Ari Collins - Nov 4, 2011 at 11:25 AM

      He didn’t leave any money on the table in his last contract, it just covered two arbitration years. Most people think he’s going to try to break the bank, setting records in arb the next two years, and he’s unlikely to sign an extension.

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 4, 2011 at 12:26 PM

        He did leave money on the table though, He wanted 3 years for 40 million + And he wanted 25 million for 2 years, which we all know is a great deal for a legitimate ace. He settled for 23.

      • Ari Collins - Nov 4, 2011 at 2:04 PM

        Neither is actually leaving money on the table. He only signed away some arbitration years. He signed for almost exactly how much he would have gotten in arbitration, without having to go through arbitration.

        That’s like arguing that Ellsbury will be leaving money on the table when he signs for only a few million this year, when it’s just based on how much he would make in arbitration.

  6. uyf1950 - Nov 4, 2011 at 11:17 AM

    I can’t see Lincecum ever coming to the Yankees if he were made available. Oh, it’s not because they couldn’t afford him or that somehow they couldn’t put together a package that would satisfy the Giants. It’s because of Lincecum’s hair. Just like Sampson in the bible I believe his hair is the source of Lincecum’s abilities. Cut his hair and he becomes just a “ordinary” pitcher. As we all the the Yankees have hair and beard guidelines for their players.

    There you have the definitive reason why Lincecum will NEVER be a Yankee.

    • uyf1950 - Nov 4, 2011 at 11:21 AM

      sorry should read..”as we all know the Yankees have…”

    • halladaysbiceps - Nov 4, 2011 at 11:23 AM

      If Steinbrenner threw enough $$$$$$ at Lincecum, he’d cut his hair high and tight like a Marine.

      • uyf1950 - Nov 4, 2011 at 11:27 AM

        halladay…, we have to stop meeting like this. I’m sure he would more than likely cut his hair. Actually I was referring more to the fact that if he did cut his hair he wouldn’t be the same pitcher so the Yankees probably would want him.

        Forgive me but it was my attempt at humor. Apparently something I’m not very good at.

      • halladaysbiceps - Nov 4, 2011 at 11:33 AM


        No. It was a great joke. The Samson reference had me laughing. Timmay’s hair and whacky weed enhances his pitching ability.

        Sort of like Popeye. Except without the spinach.

    • yournuts - Nov 4, 2011 at 1:04 PM

      Lincecom is a west coast dude. He would never fit in on the east coast. He would better fit in Seattle, San Diego or LA.

      • Kevin S. - Nov 4, 2011 at 2:35 PM

        Sabathia is a west coast dude. He would never fit in on the east coast. He would better fit in Oakland, San Francisco or Anaheim.

        – Everybody, three years ago.

    • bigharold - Nov 4, 2011 at 1:27 PM

      I agree that it’s unlikely that Lincecum will ever be a Yankee but for the right contract he’d clean up, Damon did.

      I just think that he’d rather stay on the west coast. Besides his reputation as a pot smoking hippy, (deserved or otherwise), makes me think the Steinbrenner’s wouldn’t bother. If you’re going to commit 150-200 mil to a player you going to want to be sure that he’s going to fit in.

  7. Ari Collins - Nov 4, 2011 at 11:20 AM

    Thing with Lincecum is that he’s going to cost $20MM a year the next two years.Yes, he’s worth it, but the Giants most likely won’t be able to keep both, and Cain is going to be considerably less expensive to extend. They might be able to get 6 cheap years of, say, Brett Lawrie (plus probably a couple more minor prospects) instead of 2 incredibly expensive years of Tim Lincecum.

    Yes, it doesn’t seem likely, and there’s a lot of fan attachment involved, but from a pure baseball standpoint, Lincecum’s someone they should consider trading.

    • uyf1950 - Nov 4, 2011 at 11:24 AM

      Ari, here’s a question for you. Assume you’re the GM of the GIANTS. And you know the Red Sox would be interested. Who would you be willing to trade Lincecum for on the Sox?

      • Ari Collins - Nov 4, 2011 at 11:29 AM

        It’s probably have to start at Iglesias and Reddick/Kalish/Middlebrooks. I’m not personally a big believer in Iglesias’ bat, and I know many scouts are downgrading him based on last year, so it’d depend on the Giants’ perspective on him.

        The Yankees would probably have to start with Montero and one of the Killer Bs.

        It’d be an interesting market for Linecum, since he’s so very expensive, limiting his suitors. Garza got a pretty good haul with two years remaining, and while he wasn’t near as expensive, he’s also not near as good.

      • uyf1950 - Nov 4, 2011 at 11:36 AM

        Ari, if I’m the Yankees management and the opportunity came across my desk. I’d be willing to part with Montero and Betances as part of a package. I’m not one that falls in “love” with prospects or potential when the opportunity fto sign an “ace” comes along. Especially a 27 or 28 year old ace.

      • Ari Collins - Nov 4, 2011 at 11:40 AM

        Same here, for the Sox. It’s fun to dream on, even if it’d only be for a couple years, and even if it’s unlikely Sabean trades him.

      • uyf1950 - Nov 4, 2011 at 11:44 AM

        Agreed. Unlikely but not impossible. Somehow I get the feeling he wants to be a Bay Area lifer. And really how much money is to much for some $20M per year for a hand full of years is enough.

    • phillyphreak - Nov 4, 2011 at 12:02 PM

      My first reaction was like Craig’s but the more I thought about it the more I find that I’m in line with Ari here. I really don’t think this is that crazy of an idea. Getting young cheap players with high upside under team control is a nice way to go.

      It’s not like trading aces is unheard of- Lee, Halladay, Sabbathia, Grinke (if you so dub him an ace).

  8. kellyb9 - Nov 4, 2011 at 11:26 AM

    As a Phillies fan, I hope the Giants trade Lincecum… to the American League.

  9. bigleagues - Nov 4, 2011 at 11:27 AM

    This may sound radical, but I also think it’s one of the more prudent moves to consider.

    1st of all the issue isn’t the size of the Giants payroll so much as a stylistic preference to building rosters. It’s Sabean’s proclivity to collect aging veterans with moderate sized contracts (they add up after a while) and that stupid Zito contract.

    And not that Lincecum will command Bonds money (although he could and should be in the neighborhood) but you can’t fault Sabean for not wanting to throw a disproportionate amount of the payroll at one player again – especially when he has Matt Cain and blossoming Madison Bumgarner to fall back on at the front of his rotation.

    Finally, Lincecum’s body type as a top tier elite MLB Starter is pretty well chronicled. Even if Lincecum is able to maintain a high level of durability, the chances of a major system failure is increasing with each and every Start.

    It’s easy to forget that if Pedro Martinez were still still Pitching in 2011, he would have been just 39 years old . . . and how long does it seem he has been out of the game? Certainly it’s been 6 years since he last resembled “Pedro”.

    Lincecum is listed as 5’11”, 165 Lbs – Pedro was 5’11”, 170 lbs. The weight of each seems about right, but each is clearly getting an inch credit for wearing their spikes.

    Pedro’s first significant injury came at age 29, he missed about half a season. He was a shell of his former All-Time Dominant self by age 34 – basically an average pitcher.

    Someone will take their chances, but who wants to commit 5-7 years to a pitcher such as Lincecum – who must put more torque and stress on his body to do what he does, then a guy who is just a couple of inches taller.

    • aaronmoreno - Nov 4, 2011 at 11:33 AM

      Who’s the guy who’s just a couple of inches taller?

      • bigleagues - Nov 4, 2011 at 1:08 PM

        No one in particular. I worded that poorly. It wasn’t meant to suggest another pitcher, it was supposed to emphasize that a guy who is 6 feet tall, typically has longer arms and fingers, and thus more leverage than a pitcher who is 5’10” like Lincecum and Pedro. Less leverage means more torque and contorting of body to gain consistent speed.

        I also concede that Lincecum’s delivery is about as balanced and efficient as I have ever seen on a guy his size, which may mean he’s an exception and remains durable for long term.

    • chrisdtx - Nov 4, 2011 at 11:51 AM

      Roy Oswalt might be another good comp from a size perspective. He’s 34 and still pretty decent. Health is obviously a concern there, though he’d been pretty durable up until this season. Pedro broke down around age 34, but in his age 33 season he put up a 146 ERA+ after coming off a stretch of dominance unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Lincecum’s only 27. You figure he should have at least 6 more dominant years in him. There’s been questions about his durability since before he was even drafted, and he’s proven the naysayers wrong every step of the way thus far.

      • bigleagues - Nov 4, 2011 at 1:49 PM

        Roy Oswalt is listed at 6 Feet, and I would say that’s about right.

        There is no way Pedro or Lincecum are any more than 5’10”. My buddy is 5’10” has a picture with the real TL, and TL appears shorter.

        Anyway, here is some perspective:

        If we compare a list of Pitchers over the first ten seasons of their career since the 1969 season (when the mound was lowered), with at least 1000 IP, at least 75% of their appearances as a SP, and an ERA of 4.00 or lower: we end up with 172 Pitchers that meet that criteria.

        Of those 172 only 9, including Lincecum and Pedro, are listed as 5’11” or shorter, and of the other 7 (Bartolo Colon, Mike Boddicker, Fernando Valenzuela, Ron Guidry, Teddy Higuera, Mike Hampton, Steve Stone) – all of whom competed for a Cy Young at least once – all of their careers had fizzled or ended in their early – mid 30’s and no later than 35 (save for Colon’s resurgence at 38 following a new procedure).

        So I agree that Lincecum has another 4-5 top notch years left – but Pedro’s Innings were always monitored closely – and Lincecum has the same IP per Start as Pedro did for his career (6.6). And so some GM’s are gonna be cautious – any some more desperate GM or organization will pony up 1-2 years more than other teams would have been to offer.

  10. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Nov 4, 2011 at 11:33 AM

    I’d deal him to New York for Hughes and Cano.

    • Ari Collins - Nov 4, 2011 at 11:37 AM

      I’m not sure how much value Hughes has. Cano might be easier to extend, but will be expensive himself (and the Yankees would never trade him).

      A better 2B to acquire might be Ackley, though I’m not sure the Mariners want to pay Lincecum, even to correct their mistake of drafting Morrow instead of the hometown kid.

    • halladaysbiceps - Nov 4, 2011 at 11:39 AM

      Cano? You’re crazy. Why would the Yankees do that?

      —Let me pass you the pipe. Take a long drag.

      • kellyb9 - Nov 4, 2011 at 11:44 AM

        “—Let me pass you the pipe. Take a long drag.” … Maybe this is why he wants Lincecum on his team?

      • mikeclyne1 - Nov 4, 2011 at 11:48 AM

        Yankees do not make that deal a more likely deal would be the pot head for Montero and Gardner.

        I like the idea of sending him to the Mets for Wright, Pelfry, and a prospect. Imagine Lincecum in Citi Field?

        Can’t see Lincecum meshing with Giradi and doing great in AL East, especially in wind tunnel Yankee Stadium

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Nov 4, 2011 at 1:03 PM

        I’m a Cub fan playing Devil’s Advocate. I wanted to see the responses on this idea – if I’m San Fran, I still hang up the phone.

  11. halladaysbiceps - Nov 4, 2011 at 12:12 PM

    I am in the camp that believes you NEVER trade quality pitching, especially aces, unless you are in rebuilding mode or are financially strapped as a market. You can never have enough good starting pitching. Injuries happen all the time. To weather the storm, starting rotation depth is key.

    Are the Giants in rebuilding mode or financially strapped? Of course not. Have they stated they have a limited payroll for 2012. Yes. But, this is where they need to be creative. We all know the Giants major strength is their starting rotation. But, they need to upgrade their bats. This is where creativity needs to set in. They should be better next year with Buster Posey coming back. In addition the need to bring Carlos Beltran back, they may only need (1) other decent bat to win that division out in the West again.

    This is why this whole notion of trading Lincecum is ridiculous. Contending teams don’t do this. Last time I checked, the Giants will still be consider contenders in 2012, correct?

  12. southpaw2k - Nov 4, 2011 at 12:47 PM

    Why does this entire concept sound like the crazy rant of a stupid sports radio talk show caller? “[Insert team here] should just trade to get Lincecum off the Giants…”

  13. SOBEIT - Nov 4, 2011 at 1:02 PM

    First of all, Lincecum is going no where for at least 2 years…most likely 4 years. So he will have one contract for 4yrs or two more contract negotiations at 2yrs a piece with the Giants. The salary projections, if he keeps being awesome, is $20-26/yr through the 4th year. That puts him at about a $90+M/4yr contract…but still below $100M. In the 3rd and 4th year, Zito is off the books.

    The Giants are making a run to see what they can do in the next 4 years. After that, the cost of Cain, Lincecum, Bumgarner, Vogelsong will be huge…and that does not include Sandoval and Posey, or Wilson. After those 4 years, that’s when Lincecum will probably be traded. Or knowing Sabean, he will screw it up and Lincecum will leave via free agency after the 4th year…for nothing. And by then, we have 2-3 other top pitching prospects who should be ready to take the 4th & 5th spots on the rotation.

    So all of this talk is just talk. The core of the team will not change because of payroll. And that means pitching. Especially since we traded Wheeler to the Mets.

    • phillyphreak - Nov 4, 2011 at 1:17 PM

      Why 4 years?

  14. El Bravo - Nov 4, 2011 at 1:15 PM

    Lincecum is pie to the Giants, Cain is cake to the Giants. Easy answer, ditch the cake, keep the pie. Duh.

    • Jonny 5 - Nov 4, 2011 at 1:35 PM

      Werrrd……. Only someone Bogarting would come up with the idea of trading Timmy. I say puff, puff, pass, fools!

  15. uyf1950 - Nov 4, 2011 at 2:53 PM

    Like I said in an earlier post here I don’t think Lincecum is going anywhere for a little while at least. But far more realistic is Matt Cain being traded. He’s a FA come 2013 if the Giants have any indication that he intends to test the FA Market they would be wise to trade him sooner rather than later. And there will be quite a few teams standing in line when and if that day comes.

  16. rhandome - Nov 4, 2011 at 3:36 PM

    Tim Lincecum is going to be a Giant for life. Please do not suggest otherwise or I will be very mad and possibly post a rant about it on the internet.

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