Longtime San Francisco Giants ace Tim Lincecum announced his intentions of returning to the Majors earlier this offseason and held a showcase for interested clubs in search of pitching depth.
The Los Angeles Dodgers were among a dozen teams in attendance and came away impressed with the new life on his pitches. Along with the Texas Rangers, they were reportedly the only two clubs to extend Lincecum a big league contract offer.
He eventually signed with the Rangers, in part to their willingness of offering him a chance to compete for the wide open closer role.
But Lincecum may have very well chose Texas out of respect to the Giants. The right-hander explained there was internal conflict that came with the prospect of signing with the Dodgers, per John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle:
“Could I? I had to think about that for a minute,” he said. “But, ultimately, I think it would be really tough to the point I would be betraying my heart.”
Lincecum, who spent the first nine seasons of his career with San Francisco, was part of three World Series championship clubs that accounted for the best stretch in franchise history.
Furthermore, he enjoyed individual success with the Giants, winning two Cy Young Awards while being selected to four National League All-Star teams.
Though Lincecum vastly struggled with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 2016, his fastball saw an uptick in velocity after transitioning to a new throwing program during the offseason.
The Rangers believe Lincecum’s upside was worth a flier, and now he’ll once again have a chance to rejuvenate his career in the American League West.