Mariners Insider Blog

Ahhh, what might have been ....

So most of you know, Tim Lincecum has won the NL Cy Young today in what was basically his first full season in the big leagues. His numbers are ridiculous

34 games started, 18-5 record, 227 innings pitched, 265 strikeouts, just 84 walks, 2.62 ERA, 1.172 WHIP.

Here's the story from Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Apparently one voter left Lincecum completely off his ballot - Chris DeLuca, the national baseball writer for the Chicago SunTimes. So the Chronicle caught up with him to get his explanation.

This kind of cool, the Chronicle has the database that can compare Lincecum's stats to past Cy Young winners.

Of course, up here, Mariners fans only want to compare Lincecum to one person - Brandon Morrow.

Ever since the Mariners - led by Bob Fontaine - took Morrow with 5th pick of the 2006 draft over Lincecum - a Renton native and University of Washington standout. It's been fodder for debate. Lincecum was selected a few picks later at No. 10 by the Giants and the arguments, debates and comparisons began from there.

Really though it's been hard to compare the two pitchers for one main reason - they had two different roles. Lincecum was drafted as a starter, and has never strayed from that path. Morrow on other hand was drafted as a starter, but then-Mariners manager Mike Hargrove put him in the bullpen for the 2007 season. Morrow has a solid season as a reliever showing moments of brilliance as a set-up man. However, that isn't what he was drafted for.

The Mariners then decided to transition him back into starting after the 2007 season sending him to Venezuela in the offseason. But with signing of Carlos Silva and the trade for Erik Bedard, they moved Morrow back into the bullpen for the start of the 2008 season. (Excuse me, while I go vomit at that idea).

Anyway, you know the rest of the story, Morrow did a nice job of closing games for the Mariners when J.J. Putz got hurt. Eventually after Silva kept eating and getting bigger and also getting swatted around like a pinata and Bedard basically shut down in July with shoulder issues, and the season reeling into the abyss, the Mariners finally decided to begin the transition with Morrow to starting, sending him to Triple A to get stretched out to prepare for a month of starting in the big leagues.

I think everybody remembers the first start, a near no-hitter of the Yankees. But after that, Morrow struggled at times with his command of his secondary pitches and had so-so results.

Here's his stats as a starter

5 games started: 2-2 record, 28 innings pitched, 22 hits, 18 runs, 5 home runs, 19 walks and 28 strikeouts.

That's a pretty small sample size. But the 18 walks is an issue. Still, we won't know till we see Morrow for a whole season. I think the upside is there. Nobody questions his stuff, but he seems to have a good mentality and approach on the mound, and his work ethic has always been lauded.

With all that being said, Lincecum is more polished at this point in the career. And his durability - something many scouts questions because of his small stature - hasn't been an issue.

Anyway, I know Mariners fans cringe at the thought of Lincecum winning the Cy Young. And for the time being, both players, at least in Mariners fans' minds will always be linked.

So congratulations to Tim Lincecum. And good luck to Brandon Morrow