Watching Tim Lincecum giving interviews with the Commisioner’s Trophy on the back of his hat likley made a lot of Indias fans say “what if?” Not that such a phrase isn’t uttered about this time every season – just last week we touched on the fact that Cliff Lee was merely a year late.
But this time, what if the Indians were able to sign Lincecum back in 2005 after selecting him in the 42nd round?
For all of the criticism that this team has faced for their poor drafting and development, they were $300,000 away from having the biggest steal in the history of Major League Baseball. Lincecum was drafted with a pick that some casual baseball fans did not even know existed. A second-year hurler at the University of Washington, Lincecum wasn’t coming off of a stellar season by any stretch of the imaination but the Indians obviously saw something that they liked.
Knowing that he was going to be something special, or at least hoping to bank on a decent payday in the event of complete collapse, Lincecum’s representation was asking for a $1 million contract – something that was essentially unheard of for a 42nd-round selection. The Indians, much to the chagrin of Major League Baseball representatives, offered Lincecum a very generous $700,000. Since $700,000 is not $1 million, Team Freak opted to give it another go at an amatuer level.
One year later, Lincecum was taken 10th overall by the San Francisco Giants and, as they say, the rest was history. Congrats to Big Time Timmy Jim – though it would’ve been just a bit better had he been lifting that trophy about 2,000 miles east on Interstate-80. Okay, way, way better.