SAN FRANCISCO -- Tim Lincecum's success as a postseason reliever in 2012 came about in part because he was able to turn his brain off. Manager Bruce Bochy gave Lincecum just a few minutes of preparation time before each appearance, and Lincecum excelled while embracing a new, spontaneous style.
He didn't have that luxury this offseason when faced with free agency for the first time. At a media session Friday at AT&T Park, Lincecum said he struggled to plan his future in the weeks after the 2013 season ended. For a while, Lincecum even felt that future would take place someplace other than San Francisco.
Asked if he thought he was ultimately going to end up re-signing with the Giants, Lincecum smiled.
"Early in the offseason, no," he said. "But after I signed (the contract), yes."
The signature on a two-year deal was a relief for the Giants, who faced the possibility of entering the market with three holes in their rotation. It was a relief for Lincecum, too.
"I wasn't looking for a fresh start," he said. "You already get one every year. You get a new zero that you're ready to work with."
There weren't always a lot of zeroes on the scoreboard for Lincecum last season, when he went 10-14 with a 4.37 ERA. But the Giants front office feels those numbers aren't representative of Lincecum's current ability and put plenty of zeroes on a contract offer that Lincecum agreed to on Oct. 22, just a couple of weeks before he was set to hit the open market. The $35-million deal was one Lincecum didn't expect.
"It was one of those things where I felt I couldn't say no," he said. "This team wants you and wants you bad."
Lincecum said he was relieved to know that he would enter 2014 with a familiar manager, pitching coach, catcher and defense behind him. He was happy that he didn't have to answer questions about his future, too, and there had been plenty of them from family members and friends in the Seattle area, where Lincecum lives. (He's cautiously optimistic that the Seahawks will win on Sunday.)
"I had too much time to think about what was going on," he said. "Even if it wasn't that much time."
The Giants followed the Lincecum deal with a two-year pact with right-hander Tim Hudson. Lincecum already knows the first question he'll ask the veteran when they meet in the Scottsdale Stadium clubhouse.
"Yeah," he said. "How do you throw a sinker?"