With less than one month left in the regular season, many fans and fantasy baseball owners are already looking towards next year. The upcoming free agent pitching class might not be that great as far as front-end talent goes, but there will be some key guys on the market. Perhaps the most intriguing option available will be Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants.
From 2008-2011, the argument could be made that he was the best pitcher in all of baseball. He won a pair of Cy Young awards, and despite his small stature, he was a durable strikeout pitcher that headlined a stellar staff.
Since then, he has struggled with consistency, although he has had some nice stretches. Fantasy baseball owners have been beyond frustrated with him in 2013, as he started the season off poorly. Since around Memorial Day, he has turned it around a bit, and if he can finish the year strong, he could be adding millions onto his deal this offseason.
Just a couple of seasons ago, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that the Giants would do everything possible to retain him. These days, it is obvious that Matt Cain is their most important pitching piece. However, a silver lining could be that Lincecum’s price tag drops to the point that he remains affordable. If the Giants could bring him and Hunter Pence back while still keeping enough money free for a big-name free agent, they would be ecstatic.
At age 29, it is hard to project whether or not a team will splurge on a guy some consider damaged goods. He can still be dominant, like when he threw his no-hitter in July and struck out 13. However, the most likely scenario is that he gets about a three or four year deal from a club with an average per year of around $12-$13 million. Obviously, the contract would most likely be back loaded with possible incentives, but it is a far cry from the eight-year, $200 million or more contract he was likely to get just a few seasons ago.