Tim Lincecum

Tim Lincecum

Tim Lincecum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the most starting occurrences of the first half of the baseball season has been the fall of Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum.  Licecum won the Cy Young award in 2008 and 2009 and finished in the top 10 in Cy Young balloting the last two years.  This year, he has been absolutely horrid, with a 3-10 record and 6.42 ERA.

One possibility is for the Giants to option Lincecum to AAA.  (Note to casual fans: “Options” refers to the ability to send a player back to the minor leagues without exposing them to waivers.  A team can typical option a player in three different years).  While some have stated that this could backfire by causing Lincecum to doubt how the team values him and cause him to leave via free agency, I think this is a viable option.  Lincecum is getting crushed in nearly every start.  Surely his self confidence is taking a hit.  Maybe a handful of starts in AAA to work on his delivery and build some confidence by winning a game or two would be a good thing.  Alternately, the Giants could use Lincecum out of the bull pen for a while to get him into a different mindset.  Worrying about losing Lincecum to free agency should be a secondary concern – if Lincecum doesn’t return to form, he won’t have any value as a free agency.

Greinke’s busy weekend

Zach Greinke got ejected on Saturday for spiking the ball in frustration after a close play at first base.  He had thrown just four pitches in the game, but managed to lose the game by allowing one run to score.  Since he hadn’t pitched much on Saturday, he also started Sunday’s game.  He allowed three runs on five hits in three innings of work.  It’s hardly surprising that he didn’t pitch well, since the whole series of events likely disrupted his normal routine.

All Star Game Break

I absolutely love the All Star Game.  The day of the game is one of my favorite days of the year.  I thoroughly enjoy seeing the stars from the various teams take the field to represent their leagues.  I am a fierce fan of my own National League.  I do think that the rosters have gotten too large, however, mostly due to the idea that each team must have at least one representative.  I’d be in favor of abolishing the idea.  I’d prefer to see a standard 25 man roster composed of the best players in the game.

MLB also needs to look at the issue of fan balloting.  I like having fans vote, but the currently system is open to abuse.  You can vote 25 times per email address.  I personally have an unlimited number of addresses (by virtue of a catch-all email account) and could conceivably cast millions of votes.  I’m not sure I’d go as far as limiting it to one vote per person, but someone needs to be done.

The downside to the All Star Game, of course, is that there’s a three days break during which no “normal” games are played.

Some brief thoughts at the break.

  • After many felt that he was finished, David Ortiz has resurrected his careers.  Kudos to Papi for fighting through the very tough times.
  • The Orioles are 45-40, but have a run differential of -36, while Cleveland is 33-41 with a -29 run differential.  If those run differentials continue to be in the red, expect those teams to fall out of contention.
  • The Pirates not only are in first place in their division, but have the second best record in the National League at 48-37.  If the Pirates can go just 34-43 in the second half, they would have their first winning record since 1992.  I was still in high school in 1992.
  • Last year, Reds  minor league shortstop Billy Hamilton had 103 stolen bases for low A Dayton.  This year, he already has 104 for high A Bakersfield and is on pace for around 150.  Hamilton stills needs a lot of work defensively, but if he can eventually reach the Major Leagues, he could be a lot of fun to watch.

Other sports

Ray Allen signed as a free agent with the Miami Heat.  When the Boston Celtics failed to agree to his request for $9 million per year (they offered 6), he signed with the Heat for $3 million.  This is a clear case of Allen chasing another title, and it makes a lot of sense.  The Heat beat the Celtics in the playoffs in spite of Allen; adding Allen to the Heat should put them heads and shoulders above the rest of the league.

Jeremy Lin signed an offer sheet with the Rockets that would pay him about $28 million over 4 years (the fourth year is a club option; $19.2 million would be paid ove the first three years).  The Knicks can still retain him by matching the terms of the offer sheet.  It wasn’t so long ago that nobody wanted Lin, and he was forced to crash on his brother’s couch.

NASCAR driver A.J. Allmendinger has been suspended following a positive drug test.  His team was made aware of the suspension 90 minutes before Saturday night’s race and had to rush in a replacement driver, who arrived 8 minutes before he had to get into the car.  This could be the end of the line for the drive I nicknamed Nut Bell (almond is a nut, dinger is a bell).

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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