The San Francisco Giants won't look to trade two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum, according to people familiar with the situation. But another type move at some point -- to the bullpen to become closer -- can't be ruled out at this point.

"No way he'll be traded. Do you see how the fans respond to him?'' one person connected to the Giants said.

Lincecum's unreal popularity in this town is one reason the Giants won't trade him. The other major hindrance to a trade is his contractual situation. Lincecum has a year to go at $21.5 million on his deal before he becomes a free agent after the 2013 season, and after his surprisingly poor regular season as a starter no team could be expected to absorb that salary without some sort of offset.

There have been reported suggestions he might be traded or at least shopped. But a move to the bullpen at some point is much more logical.

The Giants are planning at present for Lincecum to be back in the rotation next year, with a couple adjustments to his mechanics and offseason routine. There is a belief among Giants people that one reason he's more equipped for the pen at the moment is that he's in shape for shorter bursts, and perhaps not the longer hauls required to start.

Understandably, the Giants aren't publicly discussing such any possible long-term changes now, as both he and the team are currently revelling in his terrific transition to the pen in the postseason, which has been key for the Giants. He struck out five of the seven Tigers he faced in the Giants' 8-3 Game 1 victory, and overall he has a 0.38 WHIP in relief this postseason.

His salary would normally dictate that all efforts to start are made. So a switch wouldn't be made easily. Still, it may have to be considered seriously at some point.