Extension Candidate: Tim Lincecum

Tim Lincecum's first four Major League seasons have included two NL Cy Young Awards, three consecutive NL strikeout titles and a World Series ring.  Not bad for a "freak" that fell to the 10th pick of the 2006 draft due to concerns about his throwing motion.

The Giants have already struck gold with the 26-year-old and now the only question seems to be the length of Lincecum's next deal with the team.  The right-hander signed a two-year, $23MM contract before the 2010 season that covered his first two arbitration years, but as a Super Two player, Lincecum will have two more arb years remaining before he finally reaches free agency after the 2013 season.

By the end of 2011, Lincecum will have a bit more than four years of Major League service time to his name.  Lincecum will no doubt be looking for an extension that at least matches the largest deal given to a pitcher between four and five years of service time — Justin Verlander's five-year, $80MM deal with the Tigers, signed before the 2010 season.  Let's compare the key stats of the two pitchers over their first three-plus years in the majors:

Verlander: 4.11 ERA, 97 starts, 600 IP, 477 Ks, 1.33 WHIP, 2.65 K/BB, 8.7 H/9, 0.9 HR/9, 3.3 BB/9, 7.2 K/9

Lincecum: 3.04 ERA, 122 starts, 811 IP, 907 Ks, 1.18 WHIP, 3.1 K/BB, 7.4 H/9, 0.6 HR/9, 3.3 BB/9, 10.1 K/9

Lincecum clearly has the stronger resume of the two men at similar points in their careers, though of course Verlander delivered a superb 2009 season before signing his extension.  If Lincecum delivers just his average season in 2011 (3.04 ERA, 30 starts, 203 IP, 227 Ks, and the same decimal stats as listed earlier), his four-year numbers and his postseason heroics will net him a larger deal.  Five years and $85MM seems like the minimum for any extension.

We heard last week from Brian Sabean that he didn't expect any long-term negotiations with Lincecum to take place during the season.  There's no pressure on the Giants to get something done quickly, of course, plus it may behoove the club to see how Lincecum performs in 2011.  Lincecum's ERA jumped to 3.43 last season and his peripherals also weren't as strong as in his two Cy Young years.  Still, it was far from a down season, as Lincecum was terrific down the stretch (a 1.94 ERA in six September starts) and through the playoffs as the Giants won the World Series.

San Francisco will have a lot of decisions to make about their pitching staff over the next few seasons.  Matt Cain's deal is up after 2012, Jonathan Sanchez has one year of arbitration left, and the team might look to get cost certainty through Madison Bumgarner's arb years, though Bumgarner (another Super Two) isn't eligible for arbitration until after 2012.  Barring an injury or a big setback in 2011, Lincecum's track record and his position as the face of the franchise will ensure that his contract is dealt with first.

24 Responses to Extension Candidate: Tim Lincecum Leave a Reply

  1. East Coast Bias 4 years ago

    Look at those stats… this guy is a freak!

  2. nzmrmn 4 years ago

    Give him the Golden Gate Bridge if he wants it.

  3. Encarnacion's Parrot 4 years ago

    $80mil? That’s a lot of weed for him to smoke. Worth every penny!

  4. Andrew Sapiro 4 years ago

    I hope the Giants have a plan when it comes to Timmy, it seems like this would be the year/offseason he gets an extension since his previous deal expires.

  5. jwsox 4 years ago

    he would easily top CC’s deal if he hit the open market. With his age and the fact that he has shown with that funky pitching motion that he can stay healthy. Some thing along the lines of 10 yrs 200 mill…I know it seems like a lot but only 20 mill a season is easy for a team that has shown in the past few years its committed to winning. 10 years might be long but it takes him into his prime and he becomes a FA at 36 so it would be easier to resign him if healthy. But at the same time I could see a 5 for 100. he is 31 maybe 32(depending on what month he was born) and he could get another massive pay day

    • Andrew Sapiro 4 years ago

      What would you give Matt Cain? He’s a year younger than Tim, and arguably more durable. Statistically, his results and ERA over his career speak for themselves.

      • I’d give him 100-110 mil over 6 years with a 16-17 mil team option for a 7th year. Also a 3 mil buyout for the option.

  6. AmericanMovieFan 4 years ago

    That stuff about his rising ERA and peripherals are excuses to not pay the man, but he will be paid. I think the Giants should give him 10 years/$200MM. It’s market rate for his talents and keeps his price down in the future. It makes a ton of sense. Any massive deal is a risk (look at Mauer) but it’s worth it in the likelihood that someone stays good.

    • Ferrariman 4 years ago

      you never, EVER commit that kind of years to a pitcher. beyond foolish.

      • gornie 4 years ago

        you never, EVER, draft an undersized pitcher to be the cornerstone of your pitching staff and face of your franchise. it’s beyond foolish to dream it could work out to the tune of 2 cy youngs and a world series ring in his first 3 full seasons.

        • bjsguess 4 years ago

          Just because one decision panned out doesn’t mean the next will.

          Could Lincecum stay healthy and pitch to the expectations of a $200m contract? Sure. Odds that he will – maybe 20%.

          If you like those odds go ahead and do the deal. Personally, history has shown me that making a long bet on ANY player, especially a pitcher, usually bites the team in the backside.

          • BlueSkyLA
            BlueSkyLA 4 years ago

            I totally agree. Anything beyond four or five years for a pitcher is a bonus paid to the player, and maybe a strategy to keep him from signing with a competitor. I also don’t entirely understand the concept of an “extension candidate.” Under team control or otherwise, no player is going sign an extension for much less than his free agent market value.

  7. Rabbitov 4 years ago

    Just make sure there’s an In-N-Out Burger clause in his contract and its golden.

  8. Beatofficer 4 years ago

    As long as the contract makes it so he’ll never be in another teams uniform, I’m fine.

  9. Lunchbox45 4 years ago

    one of my fave pitchers of all time

    seriously it feels like he’s been around for 10 years already .

    He’s so good, yet I feel like he’s overcome all odds. bup

  10. bjsguess 4 years ago

    If the deal will be for 5 years then you can expect it to start at $100m. Assuming another typical Lincecum year, the guy would be in line for $16m or so in 2012, maybe $20m in 2013 (via arbitration). The other 3 years would be at $21-22m each. Seems about right.

    I actually like this from the Giants perspective. They aren’t saving a ton of money vs going to year to year BUT they limit their exposure to just 3 FA years and will have him under control for his prime. You can always re-evaluate where things stand after 2016.

  11. Jays All The Way 4 years ago

    Oh JP you idiot why didn’t you just trade rios away. You could have had 2 cy youngs nut instead you had an overpaid outfielder in rios

  12. Pawsdeep 4 years ago

    Pay the man. He’s worth it, espicially considering he will be 27 at the end of the year. Dude will be worth whatever the giants have to spend.

    • BlueSkyLA
      BlueSkyLA 4 years ago

      As a Dodger fan, I truly hope the Giants give Lincecum an insane deal like for ten years, at what it would cost to lock him up for that many years ($200m).

  13. Bust A Posey 4 years ago

    Two things in the giants have that Timmy loves
    1) pitchers park
    2) he likes to pitch in cold weather

    Giants need both Cain an big tim

    • And lots and lots of sticky green weed

      I think he should get a 6Y/100M deal hed be 33-34 when its done so thats his prime rite there. He could sign another semi big deal when that ones done like Cliff Lee.

  14. iheartyourfart 4 years ago

    sabean will sign him to $140m-ish deal…. and when he gets old and ineffective a $150mil deal hoping he can recapture the magic

  15. People who say Lincecum should get 200 million are insane. He is my favorite player but the only player you give 200 million too is Albert Pujols. Lincecum is the best pitcher in baseball and deserves a good contract, but he is a pitcher, and pitchers can easily get seriously injured and never be the same. You never commit that much money to a pitcher.

    • alphabet_soup5 4 years ago

      Roy Halladay, among others, would like to have a discussion with you on who the best pitcher in baseball is.

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