Looking to strengthen the team makes sense, given how poorly the Diamondbacks rotation has performed overall. Even after Patrick Corbin went seven shutout yesterday - only the third occasion an Arizona starter has been unscored upon this year - our rotation's ERA is still 5.20, the second-worst in the league. And it would have been churlish not to attend the showcase, considering it took place at Scottsdale Stadium. here in Phoenix, where Lincecum spent the off-season, recovering from hip surgery last September. He was unable to find a team to sign with during the winter, but as always, a number of teams which said "No thanks" then, might now revise that.
There's reason to think the Diamondbacks may be among them, as our starting pitching has not been the overall strength we expected, after signing Zack Greinke and trading for Shelby Miller. Corbin, courtesy of the Braves' Double-A line-up, is the only one with an ERA+ of 100 or better. Arizona sent senior vice president of baseball operations De Jon Watson, but were certainly not the only ones, with representatives of 20 teams in attendance. Lincecum threw a total of 41 pitches over two simulated innings; his fastball velocity touched 92 mph, but the word appears to be that his offspeed stuff, Timmeh's curve and change, looked best.
Lincecum wants to be a starter again - the role he had for all but eight of his 269 regular-season appearances for San Francisco (who have their own rotational issues to deal with, Matt Cain and Jake Peavy having been just awful so far), though Tim was a key part of the pen in their run to the 2012 World Series. But Lincecum said after the showcase he might consider a bullpen role, "If it leads toward being a starter, that would be good. I've been working my butt off with pitch counts, working off that five-day rotation to elongate myself as a pitcher and a starter. It just continues today."
So, what of the Diamondbacks? Were they doing anything more than due diligence? Writing on Facebook (feels like citing FB may be a personal first!), Jon Heyman said, "The #WhiteSox, #Angels and #Diamondbacks are among teams known to have joined the San Francisco Giants with early interest in star free agent pitcher Tim Lincecum." However, Lincecum has never done well at Chase Field. In a dozen starts there, he has a 4.72 ERA - and, of course, you know who has been responsible for much of that. Paul Goldschmidt, whose ownership of Lincecum, regardless of park has been complete: 15-for-28 with seven homers, for an OPS of 1.916.
On that basis, it might be better for the Diamondbacks if Lincecum signs with a divisional rival, so that Goldy can return to gnawing on his favorite chew-toy - which perhaps might help with Paul's recent struggles. I get the feeling that the team is more likely, at least initially, to look within for any rotational replacement, as we see today, with Archie Bradley starting the series opener in Colorado. There are other alternatives too, such as Braden Shipley and Zack Godley, who might be tried too, and I'd be reluctant to get into any kind of bidding war for a starter whose 91 ERA+ last season represented his best year since 2011.