One article I read today:
Lincecum could be here shortly
The Giants technically don't have any room in their rotation for Tim Lincecum. But make no mistake about it - if Lincecum continues to pitch this way at Triple-A Fresno, they will make room for him. Lincecum's stats this year for Fresno look like they were taken out of a video game: 31 innings, 0.29 ERA, 12 hits allowed, 46 strikeouts.
The 2006 first-round draft pick is a special talent, with a high 90s fastball and a curveball that is arguably the best in the minor leagues. As if Lincecum's stuff wasn't enough for hitters to deal with, he has a very deceptive delivery that makes it incredibly hard to pick up the ball. Some scouts believe that his small stature (5-11, 170 pounds) combined with his funky delivery will inevitably lead to arm problems, but so far he's been injury-free throughout his college and professional career.
Barry Zito, Matt Cain, Matt Morris and Noah Lowry are entrenched in the Giants rotation. The team's No. 5 starter, reclamation project Russ Ortiz, has pitched respectably so far (2-1, 4.50 ERA in four starts), but let's be honest. Do you really think the Giants are going to keep a potential ace like Lincecum out of the rotation in favor of Russ Ortiz, who held a ghastly 7.33 ERA over the previous two seasons? The Contra Costa Times speculates that maybe the Giants would be willing to trade Lowry or Morris to a team like the Yankees, who are desperate for starters. Perhaps something like that could happen.
The Giants will clear a spot for Lincecum, however they have to do it. They had given thought to turning him into a reliever, as some feel that he could be a lights-out closer. There's no doubt he could be a lights-out closer, but it's pretty obvious from looking at his minor league track record and stuff that he can be a lights-out starter, as well. We all know which is more valuable. Giants manager Bruce Bochy has acknowledged that the team has discussed promoting Lincecum, and he said they won't call him up and put him in the bullpen.
So when can we expect Lincecum's arrival? I expect him to be up sometime in May. He's simply not a minor league pitcher, and it doesn't make sense for the Giants to keep him there if he's perfectly capable of helping them out right now - which he is. Russ Ortiz could be just one bad start or two away from being moved to the bullpen or simply released, and, given his recent track record, there's a good chance that will happen shortly.