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MLB Free Agency: Tim Lincecum likely to test free agency?

The 29-year-old right-hander won't re-sign with the Giants before he hits free agency.

Thearon W. Henderson

It appears Tim Lincecum may have thrown his last pitch as a San Francisco Giant. Andrew Baggarly of reports that Lincecum will likely test free agency this winter. Baggarly says the Giants presented Lincecum with the structure of a two-year deal but that talks have gone nowhere.

The Giants plan to make him a qualifying offer of $14.1 million, which Lincecum will likely decline.

Lincecum presents an interesting case, as he is far removed from his prime. The right-hander won back-to-back Cy Young Awards in 2008 and 2009, when he posted ERAs of 2.63 and 2.48 while recording over 260 strikeouts in each season. The last two seasons, however, have not been kind to Lincecum.

Despite striking out 23 percent of the batters he faced  in 2012 and 2013, the right-hander posted a 5.17 ERA and 4.37 ERA in those seasons, respectively. His struggles in 2012 led him to being exclusively used out of the bullpen during the Giants' postseason run.

Lincecum's velocity has dipped significantly from 2011 (92.3 mph) to 2013 (90.3 mph), which has led to declines in other areas. His LOB% declined from an average of 77.2% from 2008-2011 to under 70 percent each of the past two seasons. More notably, his HR/FB rate has spiked significantly, going from about 5.5 percent in his Cy Young years to 14.6 percent and 12.1 percent the last two years. Those numbers present even more concern when you consider the fact that AT&T Park was 28th in homers allowed in 2013 and 30th in 2012.

Even with his struggles the past two years, Lincecum figures to draw a good amount of interest in free agency. One of the teams that might be interested in him is the Seattle Mariners, according to Baggarly. Lincecum is from Seattle, and the Mariners had a scout at his final start of the season.

The kind of deal Lincecum will command in free agency is unknown at this point, but it's not hard to see him getting three-year offers.

Purely speculating, other teams that could be interested in him are the Los Angeles Angels, New York Yankees, or the Cleveland Indians. Those teams dealt with either pitching struggles (Angels) or will have to replace leaving starters (Yankees: Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte, Indians: Ubaldo Jimenez, Scott Kazmir)

In terms of a fit between Lincecum and the Mets, it wouldn't be too surprising. The Mets are looking for a starter to replace Matt Harvey, and Lincecum would be more interesting than someone like Bronson Arroyo.

Of course, Lincecum presents significantly more risk than someone like Arroyo in terms of financial cost, and short/long-term risk. While there's the possibility that Lincecum reverts to at least a modicum of his previous form, there's also a possibility that Lincecum might already be better suited for the bullpen.