MLB Hot Stove: Tim Lincecum will throw for teams in January

Lincecum Had Season-Ending Surgery on Hip
Lincecum Had Season-Ending Surgery on Hip

One of the most intriguing free agent starting pitchers is former Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum. He is coming off a hip injury that has likely affected his velocity. In a free agent market that includes David Price, Jordan Zimmermann, Johnny Cueto, and Zack Greinke, it's worth mentioning that Lincecum is the only free agent pitcher who has won multiple Cy Young awards.

Lincecum's velocity has dropped since he won his second Cy Young in 2009. Lincecum believes that he can get his velocity back with his hip problems gone. Even if his velocity doesn't come back completely, he's become a smarter pitcher.

From Yahoo Sports:

With hip pain gone, Lincecum believes he can regain at least some of the missing 6 mph in fastball velocity from his peak. Though he managed to record outs with an 88-mph fastball last season, Lincecum understands how velocity combined with deception and great know-how to turn him into, for a period of time, the world's finest pitcher.

Lincecum's doctor in September told CBS Sports the hip issue is not degenerative – one source familiar with the procedure said Lincecum was pedaling a stationary bicycle soon after the surgery – allaying concerns that any contract would amount to buying damaged goods. On the contrary, a healthy Lincecum could prove to be a potential bargain of the winter, especially with the likelihood he seeks a one-year deal that would allow him to hit free agency after a healthy season.

If Tim Lincecum can get even some of the velocity that he had before his hip problems, that could make him an incredible bargain on the pitching market. He is a durable pitcher when healthy. He threw 197 2/3 innings as recently as 2013.

Teams like the Kansas City Royals, Seattle Mariners (who play in Lincecum's home state of Washington), and even the Giants who play in a bigger park could be tempted to sign him. He's a low-risk, high-reward arm who will likely only get a one year deal. With a strong 2016 season, he could set himself up for one more big pay day in free agency.

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