By now we all know that throwing a no-no is mostly about luck. Sure, you have to be able to get guys out, but no one is going to argue that Homer Bailey and Tim Lincecum are the two best pitchers in baseball this season. So, the more interesting question than whether Timmy is finally back is: what will they do with him moving forward?
The trade deadline is in just over two weeks and the Giants are in fourth place. Lincecum is 5-9 with a 4.26 ERA and the franchise's farm system ranks 26th in the Baseball Prospectus 2013 Organizational Rankings. It seems like a perfect time to flip him for prospects to a contender, or for another piece if the Giants want to make a run at a division title in a relatively weak NL West.
Since his 148-pitch effort against the Padres, there has been talk that Bochy only let him stay out there because they're going to trade him--that they no longer care about his arm. I have one thing to say to that theory: Pfffffff.
1) They don't call him the Freak for nothin'. Sure, 148 pitches is a lot, but (old man voice) back in my day, pitchers threw 300 pitches four nights a week. Well, not really, but people can throw a lot of pitches without necessarily destroying their arms. Especially Lincecum, whose windup and delivery is an intricate display of physics, flexibility, and possibly witchcraft. It's not like a 5'10" 170 pound power pitcher is hitting 90 by using just his arm to begin with; his power comes from mechanics, not arm strength.
2) Even if the above paragraph is poppycock, Timmy has earned the right to throw his arm out. In his career he's won two Cy Youngs, been to four All-Star games, won two World Series, and cut his hair once. All for one team and one manager, Bruce Bochy. Bochy did the right thing letting him finish the game (LET TIMMY
SMOKE PITCH!) and it had nothing to do with GM Brian Sabean's roster plans.
Now that I've debunked that baseless rumor, let me continue.
If the Giants get a fantastic offer for Timmy, they should take it. Then again, if they get a fantastic offer for anyone, they should take it (except for Buster Posey, I wouldn't trade Buster for ANYONE, but I'll save that for another post). But don't go around offering Timmy for scraps. And I'm not just saying that as a Giants fan who is very grateful for the two championships that he was instrumental in winning (in case you've forgotten, in 2010 he beat the immortal-in-the-playoffs Cliff Lee twice and in 2012 he was relegated to the bullpen where he absolutely dominated in that role, including in elimination games when he needed to eat up big innings).
Trading him now would be dumb. His value is relatively low and he still has tons of potential that we have seen take shape at times. When he's controlling his fast ball, he's still a top-notch pitcher, even if he doesn't do it nearly enough. Do I want him to be the Giants no. 1 starter? NO! But I love him as a fourth starter or long reliever if the Giants find themselves in the playoffs again.