The Giants’ thinking, it can be assumed, went something like this:
The talent is still in there. The howling fastball might not be, but the rest of the devastating arsenal, the insane split changeup and the knee-buckling bender, remains at the Freak’s fingertips. And now that he’s been sufficiently humbled to the point of openness regarding making the stylistic adjustments — on the field and off — eventually required of virtually every pitcher who’s lived, there’s a very good chance that a very good Act II is in the offing.
And yes, there might have been a little of this kind of thinking going on, too:
Even if he bombs as a starter, he’s already shown he can dominate in short relief, and while we’re not going to go public with this thought, there’s more than a little consternation in the house in regards to Mr. Romo. That incessantly slider-torqued elbow ain’t gonna hold out forever, and if he goes down, we’re not so sure we can count on the Santiago Casilla-Jeremy Affeldt-Heath Hembree combo to carry us through. Not the worst thing in the world to have a former Cy Young winner in your hip pocket should a couple of worst-case scenarios play out.
The majority of the rest of baseball’s thinking, we quickly learned, went something like this:
Putting more stock in those flashes of brilliance than the overall picture presented by the past two seasons is taking the concept of hopeful to an extreme. It’d be one thing if Lincecum was lights-out from, say, August on. He wasn’t. And even elite closers don’t make that kind of money, no matter how may wigs they help sell. Terrible signing, period.
Here’s what the rest of baseball doesn’t know: Lincecum has the heart and pride of a lion. The character, too. Sure, he’s flashed immaturity as much as brilliance at times, but funny thing about immaturity: it usually morphs into maturity, and it clearly has with Timmy. That maturity meshed with the magic still inside should make every Giants fan willing to take that leap with the team.