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Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Spend Hal's Money: Tim Lincecum

By Wallace Matthews

Tim Lincecum
Would The Freak be a fit in the Bronx? You tell us.
We all know Hal Steinbrenner has set a goal of cutting the Yankees' payroll to $189 million for 2014. Your duty as a Yankees fan is to make sure he doesn't achieve that goal, and our job at ESPNNewYork.com is to provide you with reasons to make sure he doesn't. Hey, it's Hal's money, not yours. With that in mind, we are going to examine potential free-agent and trade candidates in a new feature we call, appropriately, "Spend Hal's Money."

Today's candidate: Tim Lincecum
Position: RH Starting Pitcher
Age: Turns 30 on June 15
Height: 5-11
Weight: 170
2013 numbers: 10-14, 4.37 ERA in 32 starts for the San Francisco Giants

Expected going rate: He's coming out of a two-year, $40.5 million deal with the Giants, but he can't expect anything close to that now. He's reportedly seeking a short-term deal -- presumably at lesser money -- to rebuild his value. Wild guess is $12 million a year for two years gets it done.

The pros: He's still young and not all that far removed from his back-to-back Cy Young Award seasons and a three-year period when he was one of the toughest pitchers in the National League to hit, and its strikeout leader for three seasons in a row. He showed some degree of bounce back in 2013 after a miserable 2012. His willingness to take a short-term deal shows he has faith in his ability to regain the form he showed from 2008 to 2010.

The cons: He has steadily lost velocity on his fastball over the past three seasons, from an average of 94 to the 89-91 range he shows now. As a result, he gets fewer swings and misses than he once did. His control, once an asset, has become a liability. Most alarmingly for a pitcher whose home would be Yankee Stadium, he has become a home run machine, allowing 21 against NL clubs in 2013 and 23 in 2012, when he was so ineffective he was demoted to the bullpen for the Giants' World Series run. His ERA of 4.37 last season was a significant improvement over 2012's 5.18, but still more than half a run higher than the NL average (3.73). A West Coast native, Lincecum is said not to want to relocate to an East Coast team. To cap it off, the Yankees rarely gravitate toward pitchers of Lincecum's slight frame and relatively short stature, believing they break down more easily.

The verdict: The evidence overwhelmingly says that The Freak would not be a fit in the Bronx. He's too small, is too liable to allow the long ball and has too much to prove. Let him rebuild his career elsewhere and check in on him again in a couple of years.