San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum endured a dreadful 2012 season. What better way to go for a fresh start in 2013 than by changing the aspect of your physical personality that has defined you for years.
That's right, as MLB.com posted on Friday, Lincecum has cut his trademark hair to look more businesslike as spring training begins.
The idea that Lincecum cutting his hair will somehow make him a better pitcher is ludicrous. He had a 5.18 ERA and lost his job in the rotation during the postseason because his fastball lost nearly two miles per hour of velocity (per Fangraphs), and he walked 4.35 batters per nine innings.
However, as he told Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle, Lincecum's new look is a sign of growth, maturity and what he wants to accomplish going forward.
I'm hoping to get back on that horse, be in the center of the rotation again and restake my claim as a starting pitcher. And a good one.
When you're used to things going well and all of a sudden they're not going well, you start questioning yourself and doubting yourself. You start feeding off negatives and that turns into a spiral.
This is a huge season for Lincecum. He was a key factor for the Giants in the postseason, throwing 13 innings out of the bullpen, allowing just three hits, two walks, one run and striking out 17, but he wants to be a starter.
Lincecum is heading into a contract year. He is just 28 years old and one year ago he had his eye on a huge multi-year contract. After his disastrous 2012 performance, he would be lucky to get better than a one-year deal right now.
Changing a look doesn't mean that your stuff is going to be at the level it was when you were winning back-to-back Cy Young awards in 2008 and 2009.
But perception is everything in life. Lincecum is saying and doing all the right things this offseason to put himself in a much better position to succeed in 2013.
We cannot say whether Lincecum was slacking off during the offseason heading into the 2012 season. No one ever said that he was, so perhaps his stuff not looking as sharp as it used to is just a product of throwing a lot of pitches early in his career.
Perhaps Lincecum found a new way to focus his energy this offseason and come into camp looking stronger and more crisp than he did last year. Even if things don't work out physically for him, at least he is trying to change some theories about him.
The Giants already have Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner at the top of their rotation, so they can take some of the pressure off Lincecum this season by keeping him out of the spotlight in the early going to make sure all he has to worry about is pitching.
Easily one of the most entertaining pitchers when he is on top of his game, hopefully Lincecum has figured out how to adapt because the game is more fun when he is having success.
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