Tim Lincecum remains a free agent weeks after his showcase. The 2-time Cy Young award-winner has struggled with an ERA over 4.00 in each of the last 4 seasons. Is the hip problem the main culprit for loss of velocity and command? It’s possible the hip is a major factor, however 1, 643.2 career major league innings on a 170 pound frame could also be a problem.
Lincecum has been linked to the Giants, Angels, and White Sox. Reports claim “The Freak” prefers a starting job on the West Coast. The Giants have a rotation with problems at the back end with Matt Cain and Jake Peavy looking their age. Lincecum could be better than one of both of them at this point. The fact that a reunion hasn’t happened yet is not a good sign to me. The Giants not guaranteeing a spot in the starting rotation could be part of the hold up.
The White Sox released John Danks and picked up Miguel Gonzalez. Carlos Rodon has been inconsistent and Mat Latos has pitched better than expected. The White Sox lead their division by 5 games and offer the best spot to win right now. Would Lincecum’s stuff translate in the Windy City? The Sox launching pad park would be a concern for me.
The Angels on the other hand have just 1 solid starter in Hector Santiago at this point. Injuries have ravaged the Angels with Andrew Heaney and Garrett Richards with UCL injuries, Tyler Skaggs rehabbing a UCL injury, and CJ Wilson’s shoulder acting up. Nick Tropeano and Matt Shoemaker have been knocked around and Jered Weaver’s continued velocity drop is just plain sad. The Angels are only 5 games back in the division and could use Lincecum the most.
Lincecum’s decision should be coming sooner rather than later. An incentive laden 1-year prove-it deal is more than likely what would be offered. A GM that offers him a multi-year deal should have his head examined. A minor league assignment is in order before Lincecum can help a Major League club. Lincecum is reaching the S*&^ or get off the pot time.
Fantasy owners have been off the pot for 4 years, but should pay attention to where he signs and how things go. Pitching is so unpredictable it’s not out the realm of possibility that “Big Time Timmy Jim” returns.
I play in multiple fantasy baseball leagues and have never owned Josh Hamilton. There’s a strong chance I never will. The power numbers should make the case for owning Hamilton a slam dunk with over 25 hr and 90 RBI 4 out of the last 5 years. 2010 saw Hamilton win a batting title to the tune of a .359 avg. and an AL MVP Award. His offensive wins above replacement player for 2010 was 7.3. That total dropped down to 3.3 in 2011. In 2012 Hamilton hit 43 ding-dongs with 128 RBI and .285 avg. with a 4.4 offensive wins above replacement player. The first half of 2012 was ridiculous with 27 ding-dongs and 75 RBI.
I still won’t draft Josh Hamilton in any of my fantasy baseball drafts this year. Hamilton’s previous drug use is at the center of my logic. Fear of Hamilton relapsing isn’t part of my thought process. The fact of the matter is Hamilton has missed too many games for my liking. Here’s his career breakdown of games played each season along with the malady of injuries suffered.
2007 90 games 2 DL stints Gastroenteritis/sprained right wrist.
2008 156 games knee inflammation/hand contusion/tooth abscess/foot contusion
2009 89 games 2 DL stints strained rib muscle/sports hernia
2010 133 games knee/hamstring/fractured ribs
2011 121 games DL fractured right humerus/offseason sports hernia surgery
2012 148 games groin/back stiffness/ocular keratitis
In my opinion Hamilton will turn 32 in May, but is what I describe as an old 32. There’s a lot of unknown wear and tear on his body. How much of these injuries is a result of the previous drug usage we will never know. I wouldn’t bank on Hamilton making it thru the season without missing some time. Playing him some at DH would be a way to help with the wear and tear, but Hamilton is only a career .245 hitter in 212 AB (240 PA) as a DH. His career numbers at Angel Stadium are a .260 avg and 5 ding-dongs with 19 RBI in 150 AB (166 PA). The dramatic weight loss this winter is attributed to eating better and cutting down his caffeine intake. At the end of the 2012 campaign, the caffeine problem led to ocular keratitis which is a condition that dries the cornea from too much caffeine consumption.
Hamilton is certainly one of the most physically gifted players in the game today. With his inability to stay healthy possibly coming to the forefront with age, I recommend fantasy owners to stay away from Josh Hamilton. There are too many good hitters out there to spend an early pick or big auction money on a player with such a significant injury history. My guess is there’s a segment of Rangers management and the Rangers fan base that is glad Hamilton is on someone else’s roster. Once the injuries start you’ll be happy Hamilton is on someone else’s roster too.