Over at Fox Sports, Jon Paul Morosi suggests that the way for the San Francisco Giants to return to World Series contention MAY involve trading two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum. "Big-time Timmy Jims" is the best starter on the staff, but also the most expensive. While it is unlikely that they could replace his production in the rotation, they still may see a net gain if they can add some firepower to the lineup.
Everyone is well aware of the absolutely dreadful offense that did the Giants in this season. Part of it was the season-ending injury to Buster Posey, but that just goes to show the lack of depth they had in their lineup. Given Lincecum's immense talent and distance away from free agency (he hits the open market after 2013), you have to imagine that they could fetch a big bat - or two - in a swap.
Trading Lincecum would obviously hit Giants fans hard, but if such a move frees up cash to bring in one of the big free agents Morosi says fans should look at it as trading Lincecum for a stud bat and big time prospects.
On one hand I do agree with Morosi. Trading Lincecum would definitely catch headlines and some criticism, but if they could add a couple of big prospect bats to build around AND free up the cash to pay Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols or maybe Jose Reyes in free agency I think it could be a nice move.
On the other hand, I would still prefer to trade Matt Cain if I were a Giants fan. The deal with Cain is that he hits free agency after 2012, but that doesn't preclude a trading partner from signing him to an extension before the deal is finalized.
Also, you could make an argument that the Giants shouldn't trade any starters. Buster Posey should be back, Brandon Belt will likely improve and there are ways to inch the offense forward without making a blockbuster move. It's not as if the Arizona Diamondbacks are THAT much better than the Giants, right?
All of this talk is moot until the Giants actually sign one of those big bats, but this is still an interesting development to keep an eye on.