What If the San Francisco Giants Wanted to Trade Tim Lincecum?

Zak SchmollAnalyst IJuly 4, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 03:  Tim Lincecum #55 of the San Francisco Giants walks off the field after being removed in the fourth inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on July 3, 2012 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Greg Fiume/Getty Images

The title of this article was probably enough to make you hate me forever if you are a San Francisco Giants fan.

Could I seriously be proposing that Tim Lincecum should be on his way out of AT&T Park?

No, I'm not saying that he should.

Rather, I am questioning what would happen if the Giants decided to move in this direction.

Nobody in the Giants management had ever said anything about this, but given his poor performance, I started thinking about whether or not the Giants should cash in their chips, so to speak.

After all, what if his struggles this season never go away? He still has substantial trade value right now, and if there is any reason to believe that he will never be worth his huge paycheck again, wouldn't a trade make quite a bit of sense right now?

Let's see how that would play out.

In return, the San Francisco Giants could easily command quite a bit of compensation.

How much compensation?

Of course, that is somewhat hard to judge right now, but as a comparison, the Philadelphia Phillies are demanding four or five major prospects in return for Cole Hamels.

Now, nobody's going to pay that for Hamels, and given Lincecum's struggles, even the Giants would not be in a position to ask for that much.

They could probably look at one or two upper-level prospects with a few lower-level but high-ceiling prospects in the package as well.

This may seem a bit pessimistic, but the team that would be acquiring Lincecum might not get very much production from him this season, and if he is able to turn it around next season, his new team will still owe him $22 million, according to Baseball Reference.

OK, so now that the hypothetical trade has happened, what would happen to the San Francisco Giants? Could they still make the playoffs?

The type of trade would probably not have very much impact as to whether or not the Giants make the playoffs this year. Much of their success this season has come without Tim Lincecum doing very much.

He could turn it around and help them become even better, but there's no guarantee of that. Even in that situation, trading him away would not hurt their playoff chances even if he got better. They are in first place now, and they should continue to be.

When this trade could definitely make a difference would be next year.

Tim Lincecum is going to get his act together. He is simply too talented of a pitcher to struggle like this long-term. He has overpowering stuff, and he will figure it out.

If my opinion is correct, then it would definitely be in the Giants' best interest to keep him around, right? If he is going to return to form, why wouldn't the Giants want him around?

It depends on those prospects they would get in return. What if they were able to get gems? What if the prospects turn out to be All-Stars as well? Wouldn't it be worth it to trade one All-Star for a few future potential All-Stars?

This is where the argument falls apart. Trading Tim Lincecum relies too heavily on speculation. Surely they would trade him for prospects. Prospects might work out, but more often than not, they tend to burn out at some level in the minor leagues.

On the other hand, it is much less speculative to assume that a two-time Cy Young Award winner will bounce back from one bad season. Granted, it has been a really bad season so far, but it is just one season.

So to answer the question in the title, it would not be smart for the Giants to trade Tim Lincecum. There is more reason to believe that he will bounce back either this season or next than there is to believe that whatever the Giants would be able to get in return for him would be worth it.


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