Denis Poroy/Getty Images
Tim Lincecum's no-hitter could make a trade less likely.
Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com reported that "some teams—the Tigers are one—have interest in acquiring Lincecum as a reliever for the stretch drive." However, Morosi writes that Lincecum's no-hitter against the Padres has likely made it more difficult for the Giants to entertain the idea of dealing him.
Alex Pavlovic of the San Jose Mercury News wrote after the no-hitter that a trade involving Lincecum was always unlikely. Pavlovic wrote:
For all that has been said, the Giants haven’t received calls about Lincecum in the last month. Part of that, the Giants think, is probably because other teams have too much respect for the defending champions to call Brian Sabean and ask if he’s dismantling a team that paraded down Market Street just a few months ago...If the phone rings, don’t expect the Giants to talk too long, either. When I’ve asked about Lincecum, the answer is always that his unbelievable run in San Francisco is unlikely to end this soon.
The Giants are in a good position with Lincecum. He posted a 3.60 ERA in June, and has followed that up with a 2.53 ERA in three July starts—including the no-hitter.
If a team in need of a pitcher wanted to trade premium prospects for Lincecum, the Giants could re-consider whether or not to deal him. He's a fan favorite, but the Giants could sell such a trade to the fanbase because they made a long-term contract offer to Lincecum before last season that he rejected.
If the Giants decide to hold onto Lincecum through the end of the year, they'll get two and a half additional months to evaluate his future. If they choose to keep him beyond 2013, they can extend him the one-year qualifying offer.
If he accepted, they'd have him back for 2014 on a one-year deal well below the $22 million salary he made this year. If he rejected, they could still work out a long-term contract.
Lincecum's value would be diminished on the open market in that scenario because he'd be attached to draft-pick compensation. If he signed elsewhere, the Giants would at least get a first-round draft pick for losing him.
The Giants have leverage with Lincecum. They reportedly aren't inclined to deal him, but they certainly have every right to change their stance if the club falls further out of contention. If they do keep him through the end of the season, they'll have strong negotiating power in the offseason due to the qualifying offer that they can extend him.