Lincecum’s Arbitration Number: $23 Million Plus?

Yahoo's Tim Brown penned a column today about Tim Lincecum's likely record-setting arbitration case that included this tidbit from an unnamed baseball executive.  Lincecum's agents and the MLB Players' Union had discussed the possibility of submitting an arbitration figure of $23MM plus one dollar for the back-to-back Cy Young Award winner.  Why the extra dollar?  So Lincecum would be making 100 cents more than the highest-paid pitcher in baseball, C.C. Sabathia.  The symbolic number would reflect Lincecum's unprecedented success this early in his career.

As Brown notes, Lincecum and his team would almost certainly lose their case by posting such a high number.  Since the Giants' bid, however, is almost obligated to be in the eight-figure range, it seems guaranteed that Lincecum's final 2010 salary will exceed the record $10MM arbitration award given to Ryan Howard following his MVP season in 2007.

This could be all moot, of course, if the Giants don't let Lincecum get to arbitration in the first place.  It was previously reported that Lincecum was open to a contract extension in San Francisco, for an amount that would likely top Zach Greinke's four-year/$38MM deal with the Royals.  Brown speculates that a Lincecum extension could be closer to the three-year/$54 million contract that Howard signed with Philadelphia last February.

One almost hopes that Lincecum and the Giants don't come to terms so we can see, in the words of MLBTR's Mike Axisa, "the most awesome first year arbitration case in history."

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