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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Lincecum Goes Easy on Giants

I'm sure by now, most every Giant fan on the planet has heard that Tim Lincecum and the Giants just barely avoided an arbitration hearing Friday, and agreed to a 2-year pact that will pay the 2-time Cy Young Award winning right-hander $23 million over the next 2 seasons.

Tim Lincecum is quite possibly the best pitcher in baseball right now, and there are guys that are earning nearly double of what he's going to make in 2010 ($8 million). I'm extremely surprised he went the route he did, but what this shows me is that he's serious about being a Giant and wants to try and make things work. I don't think there is any doubt in my mind that Lincecum would have won his 13 million in an arbitration case, and probably could have kept taking the Giants to arbitration each year over the next 3 offseasons and breaking the bank each time. However, his new deal will pay him the Giants' proposed offer of $8 million in '10, then Lincecum's proposed offer of $13 million in 2011 added onto a $2 million signing bonus that he'll be receiving. Amizingly, he's still getting paid less than what Ben Sheets (who missed all of the '09 season with injury and doesn't have near the credentials of Timmy) is getitng paid by Oakland. So, obviously, if it were all about money with Timmy, or if there was any thought that he was offended by the Giants low-ball offer, he showed by singing the deal that he's more focused on being a Giant than squeezing an extra couple of million out of them. I was the slightest bit curious as to what would have happened had they actually gone to arbitration, but I think the best case scenario, especially for the Giants, was to avoid it, so kudos to Brian Sabean and co. for getting this thing out of the way.

The Giants also agreed to terms with another starting pitcher this week, inking former Cardinal's right-hander Todd Wellemeyer to a minor league deal with a spring training invite. The 31 year-old is coming off a rough '09 campaign, as he went just 7-10 with a 5.89 era and sported a ridiculously high 1.77 WHIP. He spent most of the season in the Card's rotation, but was moved to the pen later in the year only to get the same results. However, in '07 and '08, he really wasn't all that bad for St. Louis. In 2007 after coming over from Kansas City, he threw in 20 games for the Cards, including 11 starts, and sported a 3.11 era and a respectable 1.22 WHIP. In 2008, he spent the full year in the Cardinals rotation and flourished, going 13-9 with a 3.71 era, striking out 134 batters in 191 innings, and sporting a 1.25 WHIP. His 2008 season actually was very similar, equal or better in all categories but the strikeout totals actually, as to what Matt Cain did in that very season. The fact that threw that well in '08 is what got him his chance with the Giants, and if he reverts to that form, he's going to force Madison Bumgarner back to the minors or at the very least make the roster as a long-reliever. With a great spring, he makes the rotation, with a solid spring, he makes the bullpen, if he's nothing special or has a sub-par of a spring, they toss him down in Fresno and have insurance if Bumgarner stumbles a bit, or if one of the other starters go down at any point in the year. Another deal that really has the chance to pay off big time, without having to commit much of anything, so for this reason, I like the move.

Final Offseason Review Post Coming Next....

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The Giants Baseball Blog


  • At 12:08 AM, Anonymous giantsrainman said…

    The evidence that Lincecum would have lost is overwhelming. Even his camp thought he would lose as they is just no other logical explanation for this settlement. You are holding on to your preconceptions way to long. Admit it, you were wrong.

  • At 1:39 AM, Anonymous J-Rock said…

    Can't wait for spring to begin!!! I have the fever! Great job by the Giants to get Lincecum signed and what a good deal. Good comparison to Ben Sheets. Here's to Cy #3! Go Giants!!!

  • At 12:05 PM, Blogger Schruender said…

    What a deal for Sabean. I guess the only thing that makes sense from Lincecum's end is just having the security at the end of the day if something goes really wrong in terms of his health this year.

    I wouldn't be too optimistic with Wellemeyer for next year - I think we saw what he is last year.

  • At 5:09 PM, Anonymous Jason Billingsley said…

    Yeah, Lincecumn for 8 million in 2010 is such a bargain, even the $13 million in '11 ain't a bad deal for SF!! Look at what the other pitchers are making around the league. Whoever mentioned Ben Sheets at 10 million makes a good point. I guess he really does want to be a Giant, and maybe he gave them a discount cause he wants to see them put money into other areas of the team, just a thought!


  • At 5:27 PM, Blogger Trevor Cole said…


    Your entitled to your opinion and I have no problem with that. In my opinion, and I think in just about everyone else's opinion here, Lincecum is worth a helluva lot more to the Giants than $8 million dollars. Zito's making $18 million in 2010, who do you think is a better pitcher and who has more value? Timmy actually got a $2 million singing bonus, so essentially, he will be making $10 million this year, but the 2-year, $23 million deal is one that definitely favors SF.

  • At 5:36 PM, Blogger Trevor Cole said…

    Yeah, I'm not really expecting much from Wellemeyer either and I think he'll be in Fresno's rotation unless he has a great spring and possibly makes the Giants bullpen. I don't think he's a guy who will threaten Bumgarners spot in the rotation though. Anything he contributes to the big league squad would be icing on the cake... That said, this deal kinda reminds me of the one they gave Uribe last spring and I don't think anyone really expected much out of him either, and look what he did... Doubt Wellemeyer will impact the club even at a fraction of what Uribe did, but he's had success in the past and isn't a horrible option to have in AAA.

  • At 7:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    To paraphrase former President Bill Clinton "that depends on what your definition of worth is". It appears to me (as demonstrated by your Zito comparison)that your definition is free agent value. Which is fine but in this context is 4 years too early. My definition is first year of arbitration value which of course is also the definition used in the arbitration process by the arbitration panel.

  • At 7:38 PM, Anonymous giantsrainman said…

    Annonymous is me (giantsrainman). Not sure what I did wrong to not get properly identified.

  • At 11:20 PM, Blogger Trevor Cole said…


    We'll just have to agree to disagree on this one... I feel Lincecum would have won that 13 mill had it gone to a hearing, hands down, you don't... No big deal.. He decided to take a little less dough for the security of a 2-year deal and I don't blame him a bit... Anyway, I respect your opinion, and you seem to know your stuff, so please don't be a stranger to the site!

  • At 1:15 PM, Blogger allfrank said…

    Trevor, I think it is pretty clear Lincecum and his agent were quite certain they were going to lose the arb hearing. They would not have settled for the Giant's numbers if they thought they were going to win.
    And you are mistaken to compare Lincecum's situation to a free agent's situation. Thay is why Howard is a relevant contract to discuss, but Zito is not.
    It is generally considered that a 1st year arb player will get 40% of the contract he could get as a FA, and that he will get 60 % of that in his 2nd arb year. The FA number most used in talking about Lincecum's situation is $22 mil..40% = $8.8 million. 60% of $mil (next year) = $13.8 mil. Looking at those numbes I think it is clear that a) the Giants would have won the arb and b) the $9 mil and $14 mil are exactly the numbers based on the 40% and 60% calculations. So, Lincecum faced reality, and got the numbers for both years locked in to protect himself and to avoid a useless arb next year. But he did not "ein" in the sense that his $13 mil demand produced any advantage or "win" for him in this negotiation.

  • At 10:15 AM, Blogger obsessivegiantscompulsive said…

    allfrank beat me to the punch, but "what he said".

    Clearly, Lincecum is worth more. But that is not the key question.

    The arbitration system was set up as a concession by the players union in order to get free agency after 6 years. It is (or should be) understood that the players will be paid much less than their worth in arbitration. That is what they gave up in order to become a free agent after arbitration.

    Giants fans are generally not familiar with the process because the Giants philosophy appears to be that they prefer NOT to go to arbitration. They have mostly settled with prior arb-candidates before or signed key ones to long-term contracts, the only one I can remember from recent times was the AJ Pierzynski case, and it was clear for that one going in that AJ was going to win.

    Not so clear with this one, as both giantsrainman and allfrank noted and I concur.

    While I agree with what both said, I would not say that it was overwhelming either way, mainly because the arbitrators have inexplicably awarded contracts that did not make sense to me (and others) before (can't bring one to mind immediately, but I do recall that), both ways. So only opinion on what is overwhelming that counts are the arbitrators.

  • At 10:19 AM, Blogger obsessivegiantscompulsive said…

    That the settlement was done just before the meeting was to start shows the ambiguity in which way to go. Clearly Lincecum is a once in a lifetime situation that makes people drool and want to throw every dollar to him.

    But as this is a business to run, you have to do things within market parameters, and as allfrank noted, what they settle for is around market price.

    My guess is that this is Lincecum's agent's way of copying Boras' strategy: wait to the last second to negotiate, to try to force the team into giving in to your demands. That makes sense because he had liked to blab to the press about things to try to set public opinion against the Giants and to feed into his agenda. He just don't got a baseball writer in his hip pocket like Boras does to "leak" the info out (Jon Heyman).

    He probably had the basics of the final contract in his mind already and when he realized that the Giants weren't budging and cave to him, he asked for a delay in the meeting at the last possible second to run it by the Giants, who naturally were inclined to accept because that was basically the first two years of the 3-year contract they offered a week ago plus a little sumthing, sumthing. Classic Boras stuff, he's clearly a Boras wannabe, working off the Boras script.

    Not surprising, since Lincecum (and there's nothing wrong with this) wants every penny coming to him that he can get. That's why he turned down a high 6 figure offer from the Indians the year before (he wanted $1M even; can you imagine if they had CC, Cliff Lee, and Lincecum?) and why he insisted on getting the bonus that the #10 draft pick got the year before, which was $200K more than slot.

    I think Lincecum didn't want to have the meeting, that he wanted to settle. I think his agent told him to come along, even though he didn't have to, in hopes of scaring the Giants into caving to their $13M demand, as they don't want to have to talk negatively about Lincecum to his face, and as noted, the Giants like to avoid arbitration. Again, he's playing it like Boras.

    If the agent, who got information from the players union plus I assume did his own research, thought that he was a sure thing to win, he would have had the meeting. That's $4M he left on the table otherwise. That he settled so close to the Giants offer suggests that he knew that odds were that he was going to lose, so he got a little extra on top.

    That the Giants paid more than their offer shows that there was a slight but significant chance that the Giants might lose. They could have decided to hold the meeting, they were all there. Plus, too, their preference to settle probably factored in as well.

    And as any good negotiator knows, you never lead off with your best offer, you come in close to where you want to be, but below enough so that the other side can say they negotiated hard and got their clients that extra $1M (or whatever).

  • At 8:11 AM, Blogger ddafternoons said…

    Happy Birthday Willie Mays. Your the greatest.


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