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Friday, October 18, 2013

Lincecum to Test Free Agent Market

The Giants' best shot at retaining their two-time Cy Young award winner was to do so before players could officially file for free agency after the World Series. Now, if Timmy has any shot at returning to San Francisco, the Giants will likely have to pony up more than they originally had hoped.

With the way things have been adding up between Lincecum and the Giants, ever since his horrible struggles started early in 2012, you kind of had to see this one coming. The Giants have tried multiple times over the last couple of years to negotiate a long-term deal with their former ace, but they could just never get on the same page. Lincecum turned down a 5-year deal worth upwards of $100M before the 2012 season, and after the way his career has down-sloped the last 2 seasons, I'm sure he's got to be kicking himself for not taking that deal. The latest, and perhaps the last effort at retaining Lincecum again did not come to fruition, as the Giants offered him a reported 2-year deal but came away with the news that Timmy has every intention on testing the free agent market. Now there's no telling whether or not they'll connect again later on in the winter and try to hammer something out again, but something tells me if they haven't gotten on the same page yet, it just isn't going to happen, especially now that they'll be bidding against other teams. I would like to see Timmy pitch again for the Giants, but under no circumstances would I get into a bidding war for him, nor go beyond 3 years and $40-45 million to keep him in the orange and black.

It should definitely be interesting to see what the market for Lincecum will indeed be. I know the Mariners will be calling, and they may blow him out of the water with a deal just because of the hype it would create in the area. However, as I've been talking about a lot here recently, the market for a number 3 or 4 starting pitcher is plentiful this winter and that's really where Lincecum is at this point. In fact, there are a few arms out there who I would deem as upgrades, judging on the way things have gone over the past couple of seasons. I think the guy at the top of my list in terms of potential number 3 starters if I'm Brian Sabean would be Matt Garza. The 30 year-old is from Northern California, and would probably welcome a homecoming to pitch at AT&T Park and throw for a perennial contender. Garza is a bit tricky though, just because of the health issues he's dealt with throughout his career. Add that to the fact that he's one of the top free agent pitchers out there this year, and it makes for a tough situation, but one that would be worth the risk in my opinion. The number two arm on my list is Ervin Santana. He's got electric stuff, just like Garza and can be a legit #2 when he's on his game (as he was throughout the 2013 season). While Garza is the more consistent out of the two (when he's on the field), Santana has a leg up in the health department.

Either way, the Giants will need to bring in at least two starters from outside the organization if they lose Lincecum, and that may end up being 3 if Vogelsong follows him out the door. Yusmiero Petit will be around and in the mix for the fifth spot, but for a team with plans to return to the postseason and get back to their championship level, they may have higher aspirations. The Giants have to get better in their starting rotation, it's Sabean's number one priority. I mentioned Santana and Garza briefly here as viable candidates for the open #3 spot, but there are a handful of other decent options out there for mid/back-end rotation help. In our next post, I have to do a NL Awards selection post for The Baseball Bloggers Alliance, but after that, we'll take a closer look at some of the quality arms that are set to become free agents.

Note: In case you were keeping up on where Cuban slugger Jose Abreu would end up, he just went off the market after agreeing to terms with the Chicago White Sox on a 6-year, $68M deal. He was definitely an intriguing talent, but Sabean isn't keen on investing in unproven talent to that extent, so I'm not surprised the Giants didn't more serious players.
The Giants Baseball Blog


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