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Monday, January 23, 2012

Lincecum Says No to $100MM, 5-Year Deal

If the Giants were counting on Lincecum giving the team a hometown discount, they may want to think again, after reports surfaced Monday that the ace right-hander turned down a 5 year, $100 million contract.

Now, that deal would have only bought Lincecum out of 3 years of free agency, and would have freed him up when he turned 32. At that age, he'd easily be up for another long-term, big money deal as long as he keeps up his dominant ways, so it is a little bit concerning. However, I don't at all see this as a sign that he wants out of San Francisco like everyone in the media is trying to make it out to be. All this really tells me, is that Lincecum isn't going to give the team a hometown discount, and after the numbers he's put up, he's got the right to do so. He's arguably one of the most valuable pitchers in the game right now, based on the fact that he's not only a dominant ace with 2 Cy Youngs already at 27, but a fan favorite who will fill up a ballpark every single time he takes the mound. If he were a free agent in this 2011-12 class, after seeing the deals Pujols and Fielder each fetched, it's conceivable to think he could have easily gotten that 8 year/$200 Million deal he's seeking, so why settle for 5 years and a measly $100 million if your in that position? At the same time, I think it was a perfectly legit offer from the Giants side, and I actually suggested the make that exact offer in our last post after the two exchanged arbitration numbers. They made the offer, and they couldn't get him to bite, and I'm not surprised by either of those happenings. It just tells me that, unless he's blown away by an offer, Tim Lincecum wants to go into free agency. Doesn't mean he wants out of San Francisco, in fact, I think he very much wants to remain a Giant. I think in the end, it may be a good thing too, as it gives the Giants financial stability over the next 2 years and gives each party a huge window of time to either hammer out something long-term. Tim's a great young arm, but you hardly ever see long-term contracts given to starters work out really well. Sabathia and Halladay have been exceptions lately, but outside of those two, there aren't many pitchers who've signed big $100 million deals and had it work out so well for their respective ballclub (Zito, Santana and Burnett are a few).

So no, I'm not ready to panic at all, and start thinking of scenarios in which you trade Lincecum just yet. However, if the Giants aren't able to come to terms with Timmy on a longer term contract by the time the 2013 season gets going, then you start thinking about the "what if's" and get into possible trading scenario's, but regardless, I just have a hard time seeing Lincecum in any other uniform any time soon, including the 2014 season. Whether it's 1-2 years, I still see the Giants buying Lincecum out of at least 1-2 of his free agent years. I wouldn't be surprised if they expanded on their offer of 5 years, and maybe added another $15 million or so onto the total. At the same time though, they need to keep in mind they have their other ace scheduled for free agency after this upcoming 2012 season, and they absolutely need to figure out a way to keep both. I mean, Brian Sabean has done next to nothing in free agency the last few years, outside of retaining Aubrey Huff, and the thinking was that they're tucking some money away to ensure they sign both Cain and Lincecum, and if they don't end up keeping both beyond 2013, I'd consider the approach Sabean's taken a complete bust. They could have spent $30 million or so and gotten themselves an all-star outfielder for another two years in keeping Beltran, but they decided to save that money for Lincecum and Cain. They could have went after Yeonis Cespedes or even Michael Cuddyer or Josh Willingham to get some more offense, but instead ruled out all impact free agents because they're plan to sign Cain and Lincecum.

To sum it up in a few short sentences I'd just say this to Sabean and the Giants' brass: You've shyed away from being active in the free agent market, really ever since the Zito and Rowand debacles, and you guys kept saying the long-term goal was to retain your pitching. And since you've passed on free agent, everyday players who can help your team now (when you know you have Lincecum and Cain) in order to ensure you have money freed up for guys like Lincecum and Cain when their time came, you better make darn sure your able to keep both of them long-term. If they fail to do so, that plan blows up in their faces and they end up blowing their window of opportunity while Timmy and Matty are still together. That's why I hate the strategy of putting, essentially, all your eggs in one basket, which is the approach the Giants are openly taking.

I also wanted to give you guys a heads up that I'll be joining Phil Naessens from The Baseball Page on Thursday night at 7 PM on his show, talking Giants baseball and the upcoming 2012 season. Be sure to check that out, we'll also be posting up a reminder Thursday afternoon as well as on our Twitter and Facebook pages so follow us if you aren't already!

NOTE: The Giants have come to an agreement with Tim Lincecum, buying out his last two years of arbitration with a 2 year, $40.5 million deal. This doesn't necessarily change the status of his long-term plans, though it is good to see the two parties come to an agreement on something, finally.
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5 Comments:

  • At 6:27 PM, Blogger Trevor Cole said…

    Cody Ross just signed with the Red Sox for only $3 million...

    Another big loss for the Giants as Ross was really the last starting-caliber outfielder left on the free agent market and actually wanted to play in San Francisco. I know Sabean said early in the offseason that he didn't expect Ross back, but after seeing next to no market come together for his services and after the Giants failed to re-sign Beltran, I hoped they'd re-visit with Ross. But for some reason, they're confident in having Justin Christian as the 4th outfielder and giving Nate Schierholtz a starting job.

    Again, the Giants don't win the World Series without Cody Ross, and I have a feeling the Giants will be regretting letting Ross slip away for a measly (in today's MLB market) $3 million. He made double that in 2011. Anyhow, he's now in Boston and I wish him all the best. Ross was an awesome Giant, couldn't ask any more out of him. Heck they're still playing his commercials on the radio in the Bay Area, that's how big he was here. I know 2011 didn't go too smoothly for him, as he started the season on the DL and missed some time during the season with injuries, but he finished strongly and looks bound for a bounce back 2012.

     
  • At 12:29 PM, Anonymous hitnrun said…

    What is scary about the eggs in one basket theory is that Sabean is hoping that Posey and F.Sanchez will be able to play all year and carry the offense, with an iffy Aubrey Huff coming to camp in shape. Because of his youth, I think that Posey will respond, but Sanchez is an accident waiting to happen, and Huff should be better this coming year than last year, but he cannot hit like a cleanup hitter should. There is no depth behind Sanchez or Crawford, and the fifth outfielder (Ross)just signed with Boston. Sure glad the ownership has the rainy day surplus stashed away.

     
  • At 12:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Good to get Timmy signed, but I keep hearing he's going to bolt after this contract? Can the Giants keep both him and Cain?

     
  • At 8:56 AM, Anonymous Phil Naessens said…

    Hey Trevor!

    Looking forward to Thursday night! I mentioned Lincecum signing on todays program and also speculated about a great trade between the Tigers and Giants!

    http://phillipnaessens.mlblogs.com/2012/01/25/prince-fielder-the-new-king-of-the-detroit-tigers/

    See ya Thursday!

    Phil

     
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