Ryan Howard Rumors

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."

Odds & Ends: Reds, White Sox, Shimizu

More Thursday linkage…

  • MLB.com's Mark Sheldon guesses the Reds will buy out Ramon Hernandez's option for $1MM, but then try to re-sign him.  Sheldon also runs through the upcoming important hot stove dates.
  • White Sox GM Ken Williams wouldn't reveal much about his offseason plans, talking to MLB.com's Scott Merkin.  "I'm always looking at all the possibilities," said Williams.
  • WEEI's Rob Bradford talked to Tim Wakefield, who is aiming for 200 victories.  He's 11 shy, so he could pull it off in 2010.  The Sox figure to exercise his $4MM option once again.
  • Ryo Shinkawa of NPB Tracker says 33-year-old righty Naoyuki Shimizu has MLB aspirations.  Shimizu posted a 4.42 ERA this year in 144.6 innings for the Chiba Lotte Marines, striking out only 88.
  • Cot's Baseball Contracts informs us that Ryan Howard will earn $50K for his NLCS MVP award.  Tack that on to his $15MM salary.

Odds & Ends: Ng, Thome, Blue Jays

Despite the threat of rain pretty much all day, the Yanks and Angels are playing in the Bronx. Here's a few links to check out between pitches…

  • SI.com's Jon Heyman tweets that Dodgers' assistant GM Kim Ng interviewed for the Padres GM job today. She's vying to become the first female GM in history.
  • The NLCS is bringing Jim Thome back to Philadelphia for just the second time since the trade that sent him to the White Sox prior to the 2006 season, and as MLB.com's Ken Gurnick explains, the Phillies were "somewhat divided internally" about whether to deal Thome, or the up-and-coming Ryan Howard back when the deal was made.
  • We still don't know if Cito Gaston will be back to manage the Blue Jays next year, but The Toronto Star's Richard Griffin provides some circumstantial evidence that Buck Showalter could end up replacing Gaston if he and the team part ways.
  • MLBTR is on Facebook and Twitter, so make sure you hit us up that way if you haven't already.

Giants Rumors: Lincecum, Sanchez, Penny

Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News has the goods on the Giants, after speaking with GM Brian Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy.

  • Technically, Sabean and Bochy's contracts are up at the end of the month.  They don't have commitments for 2010 in hand, yet the expectation is that both will be back.
  • In discussing Tim Lincecum's upcoming arbitration case, Sabean referenced Ryan Howard's record first-time award ($10MM) from February of '08.  Of course, with Howard, the Phillies screwed up by submitting only $7MM.  Sabean wants to file his salary request for Lincecum before discussing a long-term deal, so as to not show his hand early.
  • Closer Brian Wilson is another first-time arbitration-eligible player, and you have to think he'll jump up to $5MM+.
  • The Giants would like to restructure Freddy Sanchez's $8.1MM option into a two-year deal, but seem confident in his return.  Baggarly says they even consider the option as a fallback if the restructuring fails.  I can't see Sanchez getting $8.1MM on the open market.
  • A Brad Penny return appears unlikely.  If he sticks to the NL and the West Coast he'll be down to the Padres pretty much.  It'd also be surprising to see the Giants re-sign catcher Bengie Molina, who wants a two-year deal worth more than $6MM annually.
  • Sabean wouldn't rule out trading a pitcher for a bat, but said he'd agonize over such a decision.
  • Brandon Medders, Justin Miller, and Ryan Garko are non-tender candidates.  The Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner call-ups locked up two 40-man roster spots.
  • Quoting Baggarly: Sabean justified the $18.5 million contract he gave [Edgar Renteria] last winter by saying they needed a veteran shortstop."

Heyman On Manny, Pudge, Cabrera, Howard

The latest from SI.com’s Jon Heyman

  • Heyman says "most in the know seem to still believe [Dodgers owner Frank] McCourt will bend on Manny Ramirez and go to three years."
  • The Nationals’ offer to Adam Dunn was on the table for weeks until he realized no team was going to beat or approach it.  There were rumors months ago that Dunn sought a $100MM deal heading into free agency.
  • The Astros and Marlins are looking at Ivan Rodriguez.  There’s even an El Nuevo Dia report suggesting the Astros offered $2.5MM+ to Pudge, but that seems out of their price range to me.  In today’s mailbag, MLB.com’s Alyson Footer opines that the Astros wouldn’t go to $3MM for a catcher.
  • The A’s "want to spend no more than $5MM, and probably closer to $3MM" for Orlando Cabrera.  He should take that if it’s offered.
  • The Angels had been eyeing Joe Crede but may be done after signing Bobby Abreu.  The Giants and Twins remain the likeliest suitors for Crede.
  • The Phillies hoped to lock up Ryan Howard beyond his arbitration years, and Ruben Amaro Jr. disputed the notion that he is after Teixeira money.

Phillies, Ryan Howard Agree To Three-Year Deal

3:53pm: Jayson Stark chimes in, stating that the Phillies can trade Howard, without penalty, after Nov. 1, 2010. If traded before that date, Howard will receive an extra $1MM. Doesn’t sound like too much of a penalty to any team seriously looking at acquiring him.

2:35pm: Joel Sherman has the numbers: Howard will earn $15MM in 2009, $19MM in 2010, and $20MM in 2011. The base salaries for 2010 and 2011 will increase by $1MM if Howard wins the MVP award in the season prior, and $500K if he finishes second in the voting. He will earn $100K for any Gold Gloves, World Series MVPs, Silver Sluggers, or All-Star Game starts he receives. He’ll get $50K if he’s selected to the All-Star game or wins the LCS MVP.

11:14am: Jim Salisbury of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports the Phillies have agreed to a 3-year, $54MM deal with Ryan Howard today.

This meets Howard’s record arbitration submission of $18MM. The Phillies had submitted $14MM but apparently are fine paying the extra $4MM for the next three years. The two parties would’ve gone before an arbitration panel sometime in the coming week.

This buys out Howard for the remainder of his arbitration-eligible period, through 2011. As of now, it’s unclear how the contract breaks down.

Phillies Rumors: Nomar, Howard, Andruw

Kevin Roberts of the Philadelphia Inquirer has a few Phillies rumors:

  • GM Ruben Amaro Jr. says it’s "very likely" the Phillies will not make any more additions.
  • The Phillies have inquired on "almost every righthanded bat on the market." They’ve considerd Rich Aurilia, Nomar Garciaparra, Moises Alou and Mark Grudzielanek.
  • Amaro’s targeting Nomar.
  • Roberts agrees with Jon Heyman that the Phillies gave Andruw Jones a "tepid look."
  • However, they’re in no hurry to bring in a righty bench bat and could take their time adding one.
  • The $4MM gap between the Phillies’ arbitration offer to Ryan Howard and his demand will influence how much the Phillies can spend. Amaro called Howard’s case "the elephant in the middle of the room."

Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Manny, Braves Howard, Mets, Nomar, Sheets

On this date 51 years ago, the Red Sox signed Ted Williams to a one-year deal for $135K – making him the highest paid player in Major League history. This contract came on the heels of a season in which Williams hit .388-38-87 with a .526 OBP and 233 OPS+. And all of that was at age 38. With one week to go before pitchers and catchers report, several players in the twilight of their career are still looking for contracts of their own. Let’s take a look at what is being written in the Blogosphere…

  • River Ave. Blues says a one-year deal for Manny Ramirez in L.A. would open the door to Manny being Manny in pinstripes next year.
  • Feeling Dodger Blue takes a look at options for the Dodgers other than Manny.
  • Braves Blast sees Bobby Abreu as a better fit for the Braves than Adam Dunn and a better option than trading for Xavier Nady or Nick Swisher.
  • The Phrontiersman argues for trading Ryan Howard.
  • UmpBump continues their "Hot Offseason Action" series, this time looking at the Red Sox, their offseason moves and how the roster might look on opening day.
  • Mets Geek breaks down the Mets offseason.
  • The ‘Ropolitans say the Mets’ bullpen still needs work and wonders why they don’t go after one of the remaining big-name relievers on the market.
  • Detroit Tigers Thoughts notes that if Orlando Hudson wants to sign a one-year deal after the June draft, he is more likely to lose his type-A free agent status next season if he signs with an NL club this season.
  • Goat Riders of the Apocalypse feels that Nomar Garciaparra would make a nice backup shortstop for the Cubs.
  • More Hardball puts together an All-Star squad of players still available on the free agent market.
  • MLB Notebook takes a look at which teams might be interested in signing Ben Sheets for the second half.

Cork Gaines writes for RaysIndex.com. If you have a suggestion for this feature, Cork can be reached here.

Odds and Ends: Crede, Jays, Howard

Links for Wednesday…

Phillies Still Talking Contract With Ryan Howard

Jim Salisbury of the Philadelphia Inquirer talked to Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr., who said the team is still involved in contract negotiations with Ryan Howard‘s agent Casey Close. 

This is Howard’s second arbitration year; he’s requested $18MM while the Phils countered at $14MM.  A panel of three people will decide whether Howard earns $18MM or $14MM in 2009, unless the two sides reach an agreement prior to the hearing.  Salisbury believes the hearing is scheduled in the February 9-13 range.

ESPN’s Jayson Stark wrote last week that the previous request record for a second-year arb player was Derek Jeter‘s $10.5MM in 2000.  Howard is in uncharted waters once again.