With Spring Training right around the corner, many teams are locking up their roster to gear up for the 2016 season. However, and quite surprisingly, there remain a lot of intriguing players on the free agent market looking for a home in 2016.
The Giants seem all but set with their pitching staff. A inning eating rotation in Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, Jake Peavy and Matt Cain. Personally, I have been an advocate for Lincecum to make a switch to a reliever, as he showed flashes of dominance in the 2012 playoffs. However, the Giants seem set in the relief corp as well, with plenty of minor league depth to step in should one of their core seven relievers falter or get injured during the year.
The ‘Freak’ as he is popularly referred to, Lincecum is rehabbing from hip surgery that cut his 2015 season short. However, he is expected to throw a session sometime this month, with scouts from the Miami Marlins and San Diego Padres expected to be keeping the closes eye on the former Giants ace.
Both teams, the Marlins and Padres, would make for a solid fit for Lincecum on a one year deal, given their ballpark size and vacancy in a starting rotation, which is Lincecum’s preference. But put yourself in the Giants position. Considering everything Lincecum has done for this franchise, do you take a flyer on a one year deal worth an estimated six to eight million and hope he turns into a dominate reliever? Doing so would allow them to give Lincecum the proper sendoff that he deserves.
At the same time, the Giants have slotted Chris Heston as the long man reliever, taking over Yusmeiro Petit‘s duties. Petit served as a reliable long man reliever for the Giants these past few years, but it made sense for the Giants to cut him lose to save a few million. Petit has since signed on with the Washington Nationals, while the Giants are expected to pay Heston the minimum $500k.
Should the Giants decide to give Lincecum one more go around, he would replace Heston as the long man within the Giants bullpen, and if healthy, would make one spectacular long man. Doing so also allows Heston to get regular reps as a starting pitcher in AAA. However, this scenario is unlikely to play out as Lincecum is almost certainly going to receive a gig as a starter by the time Spring Training breaks.
Another option that the Giants ought to seriously consider is a reunion with Juan Uribe, the former Giants turned Dodger. Uribe was a non-roster Spring Training invitee in 2009, but quickly impressed coaches and his teammates and made the 25-man roster. Uribe instantly became a fan favorite, known as “jazz hands” and had a knack for the big hit.
Uribe enriched himself into the Giants history books following a strong 2010 performance filling in at shortstop for the oft-injured Edgar Renteria, but most famously hitting the go-ahead home run against the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2010 NLCS to send the Giants to the World Series.
Uribe’s versatility bodes well with the Giants needs, as they currently have Ehire Adrianza as their lone backup infielder. Uribe is able to play third base, second base and a little bit of shot stop, while also providing a boost off the bench for manager Bruce Bochy.
While there are plenty of teams interested in the utility player, the Giants ought to seriously make a push and bring another former Giant back home.
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