Tim Lincecum deserves another shot, to go out on his terms

Growing up in the Bay Area gave me the opportunity to watch Tim Lincecum revitalize a franchise looking for a new face. The only other guy who could create a buzz in the park like Timmy was Barry Bonds.

Lincecum is easily one of the coolest and most humble professional athletes to play in this region, collecting trophies and jewelry while morphing into an iconic figure and forever having a special place in Giants’ fans hearts.

Now, the two-time National League Cy Young Award winner and three-time World Series champ is back in the news after taking a hiatus from baseball in 2017.

Lincecum — who should have his No. 55 retired some day after going 108-83 with a 3.61 ERA and 1,704 strikeouts in nine seasons with the Giants — is eager to make a return to the show as he worked in front of 20-plus teams in Seattle on Thursday. Reports were positive as multiple MLB writers and scouts said he was throwing between 90 and 92 mph.

From a Seattle Times article:

He threw all four of his pitches and kept them around the strike zone with “a better shape and bite to his curveball than in past years. The split-changeup remains the better weapon for me, but there’s not a real out pitch there,” the scout said. “He looks to be in great shape and has added muscle to his traps and shoulders. I would be surprised if he’s not signed soon.”

It’s easy to drift into a daydream and envision Lincecum evolving into Dennis Eckersley 2.0. Is the 33-year-old willing to accepting a role out of the bullpen? I don’t know, however, it’d be cool just to see him toe the rubber again.

I say this knowing he’s been a below-average starter since 2011, including a downright disastrous stint with the Los Angeles Angels in 2016 that ended with the four-time All-Star designated for assignment after he struggled through nine starts, producing a 2–6 record with a 9.16 ERA.

But apparently, he’s added muscle to go along with the increased velocity, which was down to 88.4 mph with the Angels. He now looks primed to get offered a minor-league contract offer, a scenario that’s well worth the risk.

Who’s to say that team that could gamble on Lincecum won’t be the Giants, a team that could create a role for him. The excitement that the Giants have pumped into the fan base would only grow.

“The Freak returns”

Sounds like a fairy tale and is most-definitely a longshot, but I’m just pulling for Lincecum to retire on a good note, recapturing the magic and sending shockwaves through the world of baseball. At least one more time.

Hopefully, his Thursday afternoon workout was the beginning of a triumphant return. If it goes awry and Lincecum is unable to consistently get outs, we’ll still admire “The Freak” and never forget his run between 2008-2011 as one of the best in baseball.

He’s deserved the right to go out the way he wants to go out.

Bonta Hill of 95.7 The Game can be heard from 12-3 on the Greg Papa Show. Born and bred in San Francisco, he is a sports junkie who loves to sit in the lab (home), eats breakfast food for dinner, and has a newfound love for tequila. Follow at your own risk on Twitter @BontaHill.

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