SAN FRANCISCO -- Tim Lincecum could be winding down one of the most storied careers in San Francisco Giants history -- and he's not close to retiring.
Lincecum will be a free agent after the season, and he could be wearing another uniform in 2014. A two-time Cy Young Award winner, two-time World Series champion, owner of a no-hitter and ace for much of his time in orange and black, Lincecum probably has two more home games before diving into the open market.
Despite the fact he dramatically slipped last season and struggled often this year -- especially early -- Giants fans still adore him, for the most part. That he prefers a cooler climate and grew up on the West Coast could help the Giants' chances of re-signing him.
"I'll consider this organization as a whole and what it represents," Lincecum said. "It has a lot of familiarity with me, as well as the fan base. That's been without saying for the last seven years. That will definitely play into the decision when the time comes."
It remains to be seen if the big crowds on a daily basis and appreciation for Lincecum's past will be a difference-maker when he makes his decision about his future. It can't hurt.
On the other hand, the lack of hard-throwing starting pitchers expected on the market could make Lincecum's price tag higher than the Giants might want to pay. The question is whether consecutive disappointing seasons -- 11-15 with a 5.18 ERA in 2012, 7-13 with a 4.55 ERA so far in 2013 -- greatly affect his market value.
For at least a little while longer, the San Francisco fans are on his side.
"Look at what he's done since he's been up here, Cy Youngs, helping us win two World Series. It says a lot about our fans that they stay behind these guys," manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's easy to stay behind them when things are going well."