Darren Oliver, LaTroy Hawkins, and Jamie Moyer all pitched well into their 40’s with the latter currently on the HoF voting ballot.
In 508.2 IP in his age 35-42 seasons, Darren Oliver posted a 2.95 ERA with a 1.148 WHIP. That’s well above average for any pitcher, let alone a pitcher who’d be considered past his prime. In his age 22-33 seasons, Oliver only posted a career 5.07 ERA. He saved his career because he evolved.
LaTroy Hawkins put up a 3.16 from his age 36 season until his age 42 season when he retired. This includes a disastrous 2010 injury shortened season when he allowed 15 earned runs in 16 IP. From age 22-35, Hawkins only had 4.64 ERA. He posted 3 sub-3 ERA seasons in both halves of his career. He too evolved to survive.
Finally, everyone in Philadelphia knew and loved Jamie Moyer. He owns the MLB record for the oldest player to throw a shutout at 47 years 170 days when he blanked the Braves in May 2010. In his first 10 seasons, Moyer went 72-79 with a 4.44 ERA. After he turned 36, he had 3 top-6 finishes in the AL Cy Young race, including an All-Star appearance at age 40. In that 2003 season, he won 21 games with a 3.27 ERA. When the Phillies won the World Series in 2008, Moyer was in his age 45 season. He went 16-7 with a 3.71 ERA. He again evolved too. That’s why he’s the oldest MLB pitcher to record a victory.
All of these pitchers had to change in order to succeed. Now is perhaps the time for the Phillies to find another pitcher who might have to change to succeed.
…but if he could find even 50% of the success he had 9/10 years ago, the rewards could be great.
The player I am referring to is back-to-back Cy Young winner, Tim Lincecum. Yes, THAT Tim Lincecum. In 4 All Star seasons from 2008-2011, he went 62-36 with a 2.81 ERA. He was considered one of the best pitchers in baseball, a mortal lock for Cooperstown.
Things went downhill quickly for the young San Francisco Ace. In the following 5 seasons, he went 41-48 with a 4.94 ERA, a far cry from his Cy Young years.
His last season in the MLB with the Angels was downright disastrous. He only lasted 9 starts, posting 9.16 ERA and a 2.374 WHIP.
While he hasn’t contemplated retirement, he also hasn’t pitched since 2016, but he also has been keeping up on his workouts.
This picture was Tweeted out in late December of Lincecum training.
Yes, this is Tim Lincecum at @DrivelineBB.
Yes, Adam Ottavino took the picture while training here.
Yes, Tim will throw for teams at a showcase in the near future.
No, I have no other information for you.
Send all communication to firstname.lastname@example.org. pic.twitter.com/0N0cXHVUq8
— KyleB @ Driveline (@drivelinebases) December 19, 2017
He was never a big muscly guy back when he was considered an ace. His old look of long hair and lanky body were why he was referred to as “The Freak”. Now he is more surprisingly swole than Kylo-Ren in Star Wars: The Last Jedi (that is a list of memes, some of which could be considered inappropriate for younger readers, just a heads up).
If he is in that kind of shape, it might not be a terrible idea to kick the tires on the artist formally known as “the Freak”. Lincecum would only turn 34 years old in June and could be a healthy veteran presence in the Phillies’ clubhouse. He probably doesn’t have the velocity that he used too (although he looks like he might). He is probably going to have to overhaul how he pitches, but that just might work.
Story time folks.
Back in my freshman year of high school, I had a friend, Jake Lloyd, who would try to pitch like Tim Lincecum, impersonate his delivery. He could not do Lincecum a justice. In all honesty, he was bad when he tried to impersonate him.
But then, he made a change. He changed his delivery and suddenly became the ace our team needed. We snuck into district playoffs and won. We snuck into state playoffs and made it all the way to the championship game, all behind Jake’s new delivery.
If Lincecum could make that change, that evolution, there is no doubt that he could be a great asset to the Philadelphia Phillies. He most likely wouldn’t cost much either. It would personally be sweet to see Lincecum come back and find success with the Phillies. It would be a sort of be a nice piece of vengeance for the 2010 NLCS.
If guys could do it in their 40’s, Lincecum might just make it back at 34.
Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports