WASHINGTON — On Thursday, former Cy Young-winner Tim Lincecum worked out for Major League scouts and showed flashes of what made him one of the best pitchers of the early 2000s.
Whoever showed up was treated to a pitcher who may have found his mechanics after finishing the 2016 campaign with the second-worst ERA in baseball. He reportedly threw all four of his pitches and his fastball sat in the 90-93 range, which is serviceable for a Major League starter.
Given the point in the offseason, he’s throwing significantly harder than most of his employed peers and may even have room to improve his velocity as the Spring wears on.
For the record, the Nationals are not one of the teams publicly linked to today’s workout, but given that perhaps most of the league attended, it is possible that he did. The Nationals do not have an immediate rotation need, but if Lincecum is willing to consider a role in the bullpen, the Nats might be interested.
Here is what an unnamed scout told the Seattle Times:
“He looks to be in great shape and has added muscle in his traps and shoulders. I would be surprised if he’s not signed soon.”
What could be troubling for potential fits is that part where the scout also says that Lincecum lacks a true “out pitch.” Having four pitches is good for a starter, but the mark of a dominant reliever is a plus pitch that he can turn to in a jam that either misses a bat or induces an out.
It is believed that Lincecum is looking for a contract with a team that gives him an invite to Spring Training. And it is likely that he will get multiple offers if this scout’s opinion is widely held.
But if Lincecum is looking for a spot in the Major League rotation, the Nationals seem like unlikely suitors at this point.