According to sources Tim Lincecum wants an 8-year deal from the Giants, and barring that he is more than willing to stay with short term deals with the Giants until he reaches free agency after the 2013 season.
So what kind of a money would a guy with Lincecum’s talent level command over eight years?
A few weeks ago I looked at locking up Matt Cain to a long-term deal on my Giants blog and I want to go about looking at what kind of a deal would make sense for Lincecum. With each passing day it looks like it will take something bigger than the infamous and regrettable Barry Zito contract to keep Lincecum around.
Who are the Comparable Pitchers?
The first and hardest question: who are the right people to compare Lincecum to when you’re looking to price a deal like this? The closest deals of note recently on the free agent market would be for C.C. Sabathia, Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay, and even these deals are not perfect comparables considering Lincecum’s unique skill set.
Sabathia is probably the closet comparable pitcher because when he signed his free agent deal with the Yankees he was the same age as what Lincecum is right now. However, even Sabathia’s resume doesn’t compare to what Tim has accomplished in his short time in the majors.
When Sabathia signed his deal three seasons ago he got an average annual value (AAV) of $23 million. This offseason he opted out of his contract and added an extra season, at the same time raising the AAVof his contract to $24 million per season.
The other comparable pitchers on my list have AAV close to that as well, Lee signed with the Phillies at his age 32 season to a 5-year deal for $24 million AAV and Halladay signed with the Phillies for an additional three years at $22 million AAV at his age 34 season. For Lincecum being younger than both of these guys he will probably want more years or more money.
So What Should Lincecum Expect?
If I were Lincecum’s agent I would push for a deal that surpasses what Sabathia was able to get at the same age because Lincecum has been a better pitcher up to the same age.
My starting point if I were Lincecum would probably be around eight years with an AAV of $25 million to try to be the first $200 million pitcher in Major League history. If I were the Giants I’d probably start with six years with an AAV of what Sabathia got in his first deal ($23 million) with vesting options for a couple extra seasons to get to the length that he is asking for (eight years).
Either way, a deal that is “friendly to the team” is pretty much out of the question. At arbitration Lincecum is looking at an $18 to $20 million payday with a raise for next season highly likely.
No matter if Lincecum signs a big extension or not, his days of being a bargain for the Giants are long gone. The question now is how longer he will be wearing the French vanilla as opposed to pinstripes (or whoever else is willing to pony up the money), and how much he’ll cost.
The Giants have two more seasons at least of arbitration with their ace, but the window for signing Lincecum long term is no longer team friendly and becomes more expensive with each passing day.
So if you were the Giants what would you offer Mr. Lincecum? Let us know in the comments.
It is interesting that the comment was made that his is not charity and the team/players deserve to make a profit. That may be true in SF when the team actually had debt service for their own stadium. But many of the billionaire owners in baseball, including the owners of the Marlins, have their stadium built by the taxpayers ie; corporate welfare, and now the people in Florida will expect the team to function with that in mind. If you compare revenue stream and attendance with amount spent by each team, I think the giants will be low spenders in comparison. They expect middle class folks to pay 25 dollars for a burger,fries, and a beer. Yet they want to cry poverty. 130 million is a lot for me, but not for them.
[...] Bay Area Sports Guy – Is Tim Lincecum worth the desired 8 year deal? Does it make sense for the Giants? [...]
Baseball is a dirty sport sometimes and the Posey incident wasn't a dirty play - it was baseball. I'd hate to see the game santized to the point where guys shied away from playing tough. And by the way, the Giants sounded like total crybabies and hypocrites when they vehemently protested the play that injured Posey. And quite frankly Posey sounded like a baby too in his dealings with the media after it occurred. If one of the Gaints players had done the same to Mauer or it had happened to Whiteside instead; they wouldn't have said a peap. It became 'dirty' all of a sudden when it happened to their star player.
And speaking of BUSTER POSEY..on the radio shows today. To me -it WAS a dirty play. He meant to do damage. On another level..ALL the previous year I was posting Buster isn't catcher material. AND the Splash Giant fantaics/AndyBaggs guys hated to hear that. Buster Posey was getting hurt on things other catchers brushed off..pitches fouled gave him concussions,or it was a combination of his stance that exacerbated his hurt by fouls..whatever the reason I could see it coming he wouldnt last as a catcher. Then he was "blown up" by the Marlins. The Giants would have to be fools to make Posey a catcher ever again-mark my word. And my word was plenty good the first time.
If theres one player the Giants need to sign-its the kid. I didnt think there was any argument to that. They need him like they need baseballs. I would advise the Giants though,to get one of those insurance policys on him like Movie starlets would get if they lost a leg or booby,or someth'in important like that....
I wonder if Sabean,McGowan and Baer were at Barrys wedding? top of the line-and they paid for ALL of it,including the blond beauty queen wife. As soon as Barry finds out he can't date other woman anymore,that marriage is over....
Actually, the Phillies have one big market to themselves where as we share our market with another team. The Phillies stadium seats 60k and ours 44k. Phillies signed a new TV deal recently and the Giants are still on the old one. The Rangers just signed a 3 Billion local TV deal. That's how huge TV money is.
Would I like to see Lincecum stick around? Of course. That being said, the Giants raised their payroll by 30% last year to 126 mill. This market will never be as profitable/lucrative(local TV deal) as other bigger markets that can afford to spend more. Fans always seem to think that a team should have as high a payroll as possible simply because the ownership is rich. Sports teams aren't our personal local charities. As much as I'd love the Giants to sign Lincecum, ownership still deserves to make a profit and at the very least not to lose money. It's always easy for fans to spend someone else's money. Furthermore, there's little if any evidence that having a large payroll is any guarantee of success. The Yanks didn't win a championship for ten years with the highest payroll and won the previous 4 with home-grown players. Look through recent WS winner's payrolls and this is born out. It's pretty much of a statistical crapshoot once you make the playoffs and with the added playoff team that will be easier. Plus when I lived in NYC for a few years, I hated teams like the Yankees because it seemed like it would be no fun to win a World Series that was bought and paid for. Where is the ingenuity and strategy in that? The Giants won there only SF World Series with the 12 highest payroll. That should tell you something right there. And to all those people who would sign up Lincecum to an 8 year deal; in 4 years when he has potentially a 4+ ERA or is injured everybody will be screaming bloody murder (a la Zito). Hope Lincecum stays but if he doesn't I rather the Giants not spend the money on a big name free agent (which fans love initially but rarely pans out)and instead put the money into the farm system to develop new talent whose salaries can be controlled for the first seven years.
If its my decision, I sit down with him, his dad Chris, and his agent. And I tell them we'll accept anything within reason and by within reason, the longest and highest contract for a pitcher in the history of the game. For a number of reasons. The kid's mechanics are solid as granite. Contrary to media foolishness, his delivery is almost injury proof barring an untoward accident like Herb Score. And is mechanically more sound than Cain. The combined assets of San Francisco Baseball Associates are in the billions. For a little perspective Walgreens drugs loses more to shoplifting in 4 months than Lincecum would earn with a $200 Million contract. The message to fans would be clear, and would reverse their fading iron grip on Bay Area Sports. Jed York and the 49ers are not fooling around. They are comitted to the new $1 Billion stadium in Santa Clara. The Giants have traded for a couple of arbitration-eligible scrubini outfielders, announced that Barry Zito is in the rotation and Jonathan Sanchez is history, signed a guy who should be selling tires to a major league contract as a backup catcher and a litany of other minor, but just as useless transactions. The message to their fans, and their starting 4 is simply this: "You'll get no offensive help and like it." If you don't, you saw what happened to the kid who threw the no-hitter and saved our 2010 season right?" Bad Times.
I'd pay him more money for fewer years, and try to get him to agree to $100-108 million over four years. If he wants more years, the AAV goes down to the $22-$24 range. Lincecum and his agent announcing they want eight years (one more than Zito) means there will be no discounts, and I'm having a harder time envisioning Lincecum sticking around past 2013. Not saying it's impossible, since it would be a PR disaster if a healthy Lincecum walked. All of this stand-patness on offense is supposedly contingent on keeping the staff intact.