Tim Lincecum to the New York Yankees? A wild, pie-in-the-sky offseason idea thrown out onto the Inter-Google just to fan baseball's offseason Hot Stove? Maybe. Fangraphs Dave Cameron, though, offers a convincing argument for why the San Francisco Giants should entertain trading the 27-year-old 2008 NL Cy Young Award winner. And why the Yankees would be a perfect trading partner.
Lincecum went just 13-14 in 2011, but his other numbers show that he remains one of baseball's most dominating starting pitchers. It is the Giants' inept offense that is holding them back.
Cameron makes the case that even without Lincecum the Giants have quality pitching, and that in pitcher-friendly AT&T Park they could replace him with "any generic right-hander" and still get production.
For the sake of argument, Cameron offers the idea of the Yankees taking Lincecum and the $12 million contract of Aubrey Huff off San Francisco's hands in exchange for catcher/designated hitter Jesus Montero and infielder Eduardo Nunez in an effort to boost the Giants' offense.
Mike Silva of New York Baseball Digest is intrigued by the idea, though he thinks the Montero/Nunez package is "light" for Lincecum. I am inclinced to agree on both counts.
If San Francisco is inclined to listen to offers for Lincecum, Yankee GM Brian Cashman needs to kick the tires. We know Cashman has made no secret of his desire to upgrade the Yankees' starting pitching for the 2012 season, and Yankees fans know there is a huge need there for the Yankees to be serious World Series contenders.
Losing Montero would sting, but Cashman has already shown a willingness to use the prized young hitting prospect as trade bait (remember the aborted Cliff Lee deal?). The cost would likely also include one of the Yankees stable of young starting pitchers, whether that be Dellin Betances, Manny Banuelos or one of the guys currently on the roster (Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova, Hector Noesi).
It is a price Cashman and the Yankees should seriously consider paying.