The Orioles need a back-of-the-rotation starter and Tim Lincecum is looking for a new opportunity. Could there be a match in Baltimore?
The Orioles are one of several teams to express interest the two-time NL Cy Young Award winner, but the level of their pursuit is unclear, reports Eduardo A. Encina in Thursday’s Baltimore Sun. The 31-year-old Lincecum is scheduled to work out for teams sometime this month to demonstrate he has fully recovered from hip surgery in September.
Lincecum is believed to be looking for a major league deal, which could complicate a deal in Baltimore. Encina points out the Orioles have been open to incentive-laden minor league deals in the past, using Johan Santana as an example.
Another fit for Lincecum could be in Texas, where the Rangers have no plans to add a notable free agent such as Yovani Gallardo. "We are in the range of where we'll end up payroll-wise," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels told Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.
That could open the door for a club-friendly deal with Lincecum, who was 4-2 with a 2.08 ERA over his first eight starts for the Giants last season before posting a 7.53 ERA in his final seven outings.
A few weeks ago, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle said the Giants have not closed the door on bringing back Big Time Timmy Jim, but there are no open spots in their rotation. For now, Lincecum would have to compete for an open bullpen spot.
Here are more rumors for Thursday, beginning with another pitcher on the Orioles’ radar:
Andrew Cashner: One of the options for the Orioles is a trade with the Padres for Cashner, who will make $7.15 million in 2016. Cashner slipped to 6-16 with a 4.34 ERA last year, but did throw a career-high 184.2 innings. Now that Chris Davis has signed a seven-year deal, ESPN’s Eddie Matz suggests Baltimore might be willing to part with a young first baseman such as Christian Walker or Trey Mancini in a deal for Cashner.
Alejandro De Aza: The New York Mets formally announced their three-year deal with Yoenis Cespedes on Wednesday, and the odd man out in the outfield could be De Aza, who signed a $5.75 free agent deal in December. General manager Sandy Alderson told reporters, including ESPN’s Adam Rubin, a spring training deal for De Aza is conceivable, adding “we’re not pursuing any of that at the moment.”
Michael Conforto: The ripple affects of the Cespedes signing extend to Conforto, who made a big splash as a mid-summer call-up and hit three homers for the Mets in the 2015 postseason. Used exclusively in left field, Conforto could see some time in right field during spring training to see if he is a fill-in option for Curtis Granderson.
Arizona Diamondbacks: After a busy offseason, the D-backs may finally be done dealing. There was some speculation that Arizona might use the $4 million in savings from last week’s deal with Milwaukee on bullpen help, but general manager Dave Stewart tells Steve Gilbert of MLB.com, “we don’t have much going on.” If the D-backs stand pat, it would help the roster chances of relievers Adam Loewen, Sam LeCure and Wesley Wright, all of whom were signed to minor league deals earlier this winter.
Matt Thornton: The free agent left-hander tells MLB Network Radio he might retire if he is unable to land a major league deal. “I’m not taking an invite,” said the 38-year-old who had a 2.18 ERA in 41.1 innings for the Nationals last season. Given the scarcity of southpaw relievers, Thornton has every incentive to keep waiting.