Tim Lincecum chose to sign with the Texas Rangers over the Los Angeles Dodgers last week. Since then, he has made some very pointed comments about the Dodgers.
John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote a great piece about the emotional status of Lincecum as the multiple Cy Young winner copes with the death of his brother while attempting to return to the mound after spending a season away from baseball.
Unsurprisingly, the Dodgers were brought up. Mostly because of how bizarre it would have been for the Giants icon to suit up with their hated rival.
Lincecum admitted that he considered joining the Dodgers, but it would have amounted to a betrayal of his heart.
Ultimately it was easier for Lincecum to join the team he went 2-0 against in the 2010 World Series than the squad every Giants player inherently despises.
While the Rangers posed less of a moral dilemma for him, they offered him a chance at a meaningful role.
The Rangers are expected to try to convert him into a reliever, and possibly their closer if it goes well.
Alex Claudio led the Rangers with just 11 saves last season, so it’s conceivable that Lincecum could climb that bullpen depth chart.
If Lincecum views himself as a potential closer, it makes sense that he chose the Rangers. After all, the Dodgers already have one of the best closers in baseball in Kenley Jansen.
The Rangers don’t have a guy entrenched in that role like the Dodgers do. So Lincecum probably made the right call in terms of his own chances at regaining individual glory.
As with most decisions, it was probably a combination of multiple factors instead of purely one catalyst.
Lincecum basically said the reason he picked the Rangers was that the conversations they shared made him feel warm and fuzzy.
We’ll never know if Lincecum rejected the Dodgers mainly because of his Giants allegiance. Or perhaps it was because the Rangers bullpen looks easier to crack than the Dodgers bullpen.
The Rangers bullpen ranked 28th in the majors last season in both ERA and WHIP. The Dodgers bullpen ranked 4th and 2nd in those categories, respectively.
The Rangers give Lincecum a better chance to carve a niche for himself, and frankly, they need him more than the Dodgers do.