Friday, October 18, 2013
Lincecum in Mariners' plans?
By Joe Kaiser
UPDATE: Speculation continues to grow that one-time San Francisco ace Tim Lincecum could end up with his hometown team, the Seattle Mariners, next season.
Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com reports this morning that "the Giants have made overtures to (Lincecum) about a new contract, but sources indicate that the two-time Cy Young Award winner expects to solicit offers on the open market."
Lincecum grew up in Renton, Wash., just south of Seattle, and as we mentioned last month the Mariners are one of the few teams that make sense as a possible landing spot. Baggarly explains: "...The Giants plan to make him a qualifying offer (one year, almost $14 million) that would set them up to receive draft-pick compensation if he signs elsewhere... But the Seattle native might be curious to see what level of interest his hometown Mariners will have in him -- especially since they own a protected first-round draft pick and wouldn’t lose it."
For years now, even during the pinnacle of Tim Lincecum's run in San Francisco, the talk of the Seattle-area native one day returning home to play for the Mariners has floated around. Is this the offseason where it actually happens? Lets take a look.
As I noted last night in my story regarding the M's decision to retain GM Jack Zduriencik, one of the big keys for Seattle this winter will be finding an upgrade over Joe Saunders as the team's No. 3 starter. In that sense, Lincecum certainly fits the bill.
Here's the interesting part of this. It's been rumored that the Giants will extend Lincecum a qualifying offer after the season, an offer Lincecum is expected to refuse. That figures to thin the crop of suitors considerably, since every team drafting outside the top 10 in 2014 would have to give up their first-rounder as compensation for signing Lincecum. Our own Buster Olney went over this process extensively in his fine story today.
The Mariners, however, are a team with a top 10 pick and, therefore, would be able to sign Lincecum without losing their first-rounder. And of the other teams slated to draft in the top 10, none make quite as much sense as Seattle for Lincecum. In fact, the Chicago Cubs, Minnesota Twins, Milwaukee Brewers and New York Mets (if they end up with a top 10 pick) may be Seattle's only other serious challengers for the former University of Washington star.