The Angels have signed two-time National League Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum to a one-year Major League deal, general manager Billy Eppler announced Friday."We're very pleased to bring someone with [Lincecum's] resume and his experience into our organization and to help fulfill our championship standards and our championship expectations
The Angels have signed two-time National League Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum to a one-year Major League deal, general manager Billy Eppler announced Friday.
"We're very pleased to bring someone with [Lincecum's] resume and his experience into our organization and to help fulfill our championship standards and our championship expectations here," Eppler said.
The deal will reportedly pay him around $2 million and includes up to $1.7 million in incentives.
"I'm super excited to be out here on the baseball field again," Lincecum said. "I know I'm not out there yet, per se, but this process has been long and to sign a contract with the Angels meant the world to me."
The signing of Lincecum means the Angels are currently in line to cross the $189 million luxury tax threshold for just the second time in franchise history (the first time was 2004), Eppler said.
"The signing does put us on pace to cross the [luxury tax threshold], so it's not insignificant, but it's also a calculated risk where the dollars and the risk kind of converged and made it a sensible decision," Eppler said.
The Angels have reportedly been close to a deal with the right-hander since early this week, but were still working to iron of the details and get incentives approved by the league office. Lincecum chose the Angels over several other Major League offers, including his former team the Giants.
"[The Giants] showed interest, but I just think my expectations versus their expectations [for me] didn't really line up, so I just took the time to think about myself as to what I needed and what was best for my career," Lincecum said.
The former National League Cy Young Award winner said the opportunity to start and a desire to remain on the West Coast were major factors in his decision to sign with the Angels.
"I've always had curiosity about the Angels just because as a kid they were in my sights," Lincecum said. "It was hard not to take a look at that, especially given the opportunity that was presented to me."
Lincecum will report to the Minor Leagues before being added to the Angels roster, starting with work at extended spring training in Tempe, Ariz. Lincecum said he will throw a 75-100-pitch private simulated game on Monday before he is moved to a Minor League affiliate.
Eppler said he expects Lincecum to spend 20 to 30 days in the Minors before he should be called up to the Major League club. That would put the soonest expected Major League date at June 9.
Velocity and physical issues have plagued Lincecum in recent years, as he has posted a 4.68 ERA in more than 600 innings since 2012. Lincecum said his goal with this comeback is to end the season healthy and give himself a platform to jump start his career.
"Success will be being healthy at the end of this season, and seeing where I am after that," Lincecum said.
Lincecum, 31, went 7-4 with a 4.13 ERA in 15 starts with the Giants in 2015, his ninth season in the Majors. He made his last start of the season on June 27 after taking a line drive off of his right elbow and was diagnosed with a forearm contusion. That July, he was diagnosed with a degenerative condition in both hips and underwent season-ending surgery on his left hip on Sept. 3.
The right-hander said he feels night and day on that hip compared to previous years, saying he feels more stable with his plant leg on his follow through.
"It wasn't anything about pain that was screaming out with me [when I was hurt], it was more of a lack of stability and lack of strength,"Lincecum said. "Now that that has been fixed and reattached, I don't really have those issues. My land leg is now stable, I can rotate fully around it and I have the full range of motion to go through my delivery."
Angels manager Mike Scioscia is confident that, even with reduced fastball velocity, Lincecum still has what it takes to be successful in the Majors.
"Tim is one of the most competitive pitchers that has ever taken the mound," Scioscia said. "I think that will go a long way to overcome some of the velocity changes that have happened in the last four or five years with Tim."
Lincecum held a showcase for interested teams in Scottsdale, Ariz. on May 6 with several teams, including the Angels, in attendance.
The right-hander had spent his entire career in San Francisco, going 108-83 with a 3.61 ERA. He made history in 2009, becoming just one of four pitchers to win back-to-back Cy Young Awards. He was also a part of three World Series-winning teams with the Giants (2010, 2012, 2014), going 5-2 with a 2.40 ERA in the postseason.
While there's no certainty that Lincecum can come close to being the player he once was, Eppler wanted to take the chance.
"With guys that have shown the ability to be that star-level talent, when you have an opportunity to bring that in and there's something to reclaim there," Eppler said. "Is he going to be the version of himself from six or seven years ago? I don't know."
The Angels are in need of starting pitching depth. Garrett Richards and Andrew Heaney are currently dealing with torn elbow ligaments, and their future is unknown. C.J. Wilson has been dealing with shoulder issues, and could be out until mid-June. Tyler Skaggs has hit some bumps in his return from Tommy John surgery. The team acquired right-hander Jhoulys Chacin from the Braves last week, but could use another veteran starter such as Lincecum to bolster their rotation.
Fabian Ardaya is a reporter for MLB.com based in Anaheim.