Tim Lincecum signed with the Texas Rangers this offseason and is set to compete for a role out of the bullpen, but the other club that offered him an MLB invite was the Los Angeles Dodgers. When asked if he could ever envision himself playing for the Dodgers, the former San Francisco Giants ace was candid.
"Could I? I had to think about that for a minute," he said, per John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. "But ultimately, I think it would be really tough to the point I would be betraying my heart."
Lincecum laughed, adding that he picked the Rangers after "the conversations we had kind of made me feel warm and fuzzy inside."
The Giants, meanwhile, didn't have the level of interest that either Texas or Los Angeles displayed.
"I was going to give the Giants the benefit of the doubt because it's where I feel my heart is," Lincecum told Shea. "It's a second home for me, and they've been so good to me over the years. With that, I tried to keep the communication up with them, but ultimately, it came down to what would fit best for me, and this opportunity was the best fit."
Lincecum, 33, hasn't pitched since the 2016 season when he went 2-6 in nine starts for the Los Angeles Angels with a 9.16 ERA, 2.37 WHIP and 32 strikeouts in 38.1 innings. He was far removed from the pitcher who won two Cy Young Awards (2008 and 2009), went to four All-Star Games, won three titles with the Giants and was arguably the most dominant pitcher in the game in his prime from 2008-11.
Injuries adversely affected him later in his career, however, and Lincecum is attempting a comeback after being away from baseball for the entirety of the 2017 season. He's confident he can still contribute, however.
"I feel it would be tough to give up the game when I feel I've still got the ability to play it," he said.
Playing the game also remained an important and emotional ritual for Lincecum, and he will be wearing No. 44 this season to honor his late brother, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
"As a baseball family, I'm around my dad a lot. Even with my brother, up until the point he passed," said Lincecum. "We were always talking about baseball. It's one of those things that kind of has an itch in you. When you see everybody go down for spring training, it’s like we've got to migrate. I've got to head down. I don't feel it's right if I'm not doing the same thing, essentially."
Just so long as he isn't doing it for the Dodgers, that is.