The offseason is winding down and it looks like the Yankees' roster is just about set for spring training. Over the past few months, the Yankees have steered clear of the free agent market, opting to make upgrades through trades instead. Without signing a single free agent, the Yankees have made improvements to the infield, outfield and bullpen, yet the 2015 rotation has remained intact. Considering the fact that four out of five of the Yankees' starters spent time on the disabled list last year, it would be wise for the Yankees to stockpile starting pitchers. Most of the top free agents are gone, which is fine because that is not what the Yankees are looking for. However, they could still sift through what is left of the starting pitchers and sign a cheap starting pitcher to give the team more depth. They could even take a gamble on Tim Lincecum.
According to John Shea of the SF Gate, Lincecum is going to pitch in a showcase in February in an effort to land a deal with a new team. The former ace is currently recovering from hip surgery that cut his 2015 season short. He has been rehabbing since late September and is expected to start throwing off a mound within the week, so it is entirely possible that he will be ready to pitch when the 2016 season starts. Lincecum's agent stated that nearly every team has contacted him about Lincecum, and that 20 teams have requested medical information. It is unclear how interested they actually are, but the Yankees do intend to send scouts to watch Lincecum's showcase in February. He is coming off of a two-year contract with the Giants that was worth $35 million, but he should get a much cheaper contract moving forward, and likely a one-year deal, since his stock has dropped and he is recovering from hip surgery.
Though he was once an elite starting pitcher, Lincecum has struggled over the past few years. Since 2012, Lincecum has averaged a 4.68 ERA and 4.08 FIP, and walked over 10% of the batters he faced. Back in his prime, Lincecum recorded nine or 10 strikeouts per nine innings pitched, and that number dropped to 7.07 in 2015. He made just 15 starts last year before he was sidelined with a forearm contusion after being hit with a line drive. His degenerative hip condition was then diagnosed while he was rehabbing his arm. Through 76.1 IP in 2015, he posted a 4.13 ERA, 4.29 FIP, 1.48 WHIP, 4.48 BB/9, and 0.83 HR/9. There is no way of knowing how Lincecum will pitch once he is done with the rehab process, but it could be worth it for the Yankees to take a flier on him. They could certainly use the depth, and it's possible that his hip condition is at least partially to blame for his poor results over the past season or two. Pitching coach Larry Rothschild might even be able to work his magic on him.
Should the Yankees be interested in signing Lincecum?