Thursday, April 4, 2013
If Lincecum continues to struggle
By Jason A. Churchill
Tim Lincecum is the owner of two World Series rings, two Cy Young trophies and perhaps the quickest ascent from the minors to the big leagues possible without skipping them altogether, but he struggled through the 2012 season and despite allowing just two unearned runs in five innings Wednesday, did not start off well in 2013.
Lincecum issued seven walks in the 5-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers, but struggled all spring with his control. It's far from out of the question that the club may have replace the right-hander in the rotation at some point this season. The question, however, centers around their rotation options if they look to make such a move.
In the short term, Erik Surkamp or Chad Gaudin could be an option. For the long haul, including the balance of the 2013 and perhaps beyond, the options become less clear, which could give the club motivation to stick with Lincecum longer than they otherwise might.
The club's top prospect is right-hander Kyle Crick but he appears to be at least a year from being ready or the majors, and the same goes for Chris Stratton, the club's next best pitching prospect. The lack of options could push the club to search for help on the trade market and consider either including Lincecum in the deal or handing him a relief role.