The Giants reiterated their interest in him as a long reliever. Jeremy Shelley represented the Giants at the showcase, but, interestingly, it was reported that Lincecum gave a private viewing to Bobby Evans and Dick Tidrow ten days earlier. Both Javier Lopez and Bruce Bochy were interviewed for their reaction to the video of the showcase, and both were happy for Lincecum, they saw him back healthy,
ESPN's Eric Longenhagen wrote up his thoughts on Lincecum, read it here.
I think there's still a big leaguer here, albeit in a limited role as a relief option. While he doesn't have the mid-90s fastball and wipeout slider that is typical of today's bullpen arm, Lincecum's repertoire would be uniquely deep for a reliever.
If he can find a way to keep hitters off of his fastball -- either through some of the natural deception created by his delivery, by throwing his curveball for strikes early in counts, by finding changeup consistency or through some combination of these things -- I believe get outs at a rate that befits a big league reliever.
If Lincecum were to work as a starter, he'd need better fastball command than was evident in this workout and much better command than he has displayed in his recent healthy seasons.
ESPN's Dave Schoenfield wrote up his ideas for five teams he might end up with, starting with the Giants: "1. San Francisco Giants: The obvious favorite for several reasons. "
For those of us who want Lincecum back under the right conditions - and I'm definitely in that camp - the above is probably the best news we can get.
If Lincecum had came back with his old velocity, teams would definitely be lined up looking to sign him up for a starting rotation spot (not that I would root against him regaining it, just that it is what it is). And that would have been fine with me, and who knows, given how poorly Peavy and Cain has done, maybe the Giants would have given him a good contract to be a starter and replace one of them.
But he didn't, he came back with the velocity he has had for a number of years now, diminished and ordinary, according to Longenhagen's account. And Longenhagen said that he was, at best, a reliever. And he seemed to still be needing some time to get into baseball shape, in any case, even if he were hired to be a starting pitcher. He has stated that he wanted to avoid having to pitch in AAA before returning to the majors.
All these conditions are right for his return to the Giants. Assuming most teams agree with Longenhagen's description, they will at best offer him a relief role, not even long relief. Even if a team were willing to take him on as a starter, I would have to think most of them would be wanting to place him in AAA to get into shape for starting.
The Giants at this time is searching for a long reliever, and potentially a new starter if either Peavy or Cain continues to struggle like this into June. They can afford to promise Lincecum that he won't spend one day in AAA, as they believe in him as a long reliever, and as Bochy noted in one of the interviews, beyond that if circumstances change. He, of course, have stated that coming back to the Giants is ideal, but he wants to start and he don't want to have to do any minor league time. And that is mostly what the Giants can promise to him, with the possibility that a starting spot could open up at some point, a gamble on his part, but he'll be in a familiar situation and not forced to spend any time in AAA.
Of course, maybe another team would be willing to make him the long reliever initially with the promise that he'll be the starter when ready. But given Longenhagen's assessment, the odds appear to be very low that there is such a team.
And I doubt money will be a problem, he's made plenty of it, I think he's mainly looking for the opportunity, as well as a good situation, which he hasn't stated, but I think he would want that too.