Tim Lincecum Rumors

NL West Notes: Ethier, Lincecum

Dodgers left-hander Sandy Koufax struck out 18 Cubs on this date in 1962, tying Bob Feller for a share of what was then the single game strikeout record. Here are today's links from the NL West…

  • Dodgers GM Ned Colletti said he’s "always been inclined to keep" Andre Ethier, Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times reports. Agent Nez Balelo has said his client is open to discussing a long-term contract during the season, assuming the incoming ownership group takes over the team at the end of the month. Colletti said yesterday that he has already talked to the team's new owners about an extension for Ethier.
  • Scouts wonder if Tim Lincecum’s right hip is bothering him, but the Giants right-hander told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that, “none of that is true.” Though Lincecum is off to a slow start, he prefers to focus on the positives. “We get caught up in negatives so much and so easily, especially with so many games,” he said. Lincecum is under contract through 2013, and remains a candidate for a longer-term deal.

Quick Hits: Marlins, Jeter, Lincecum, Chisenhall

In a piece inspired by early-season injuries to key relievers Tom Verducci of SI.com points out that closers tend to be inefficient investments. "No one wants to admit it," he writes, "but the modern bullpen is a failure." Here are the rest of today's links…

  • Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that he likes what he has seen from manager Ozzie Guillen despite last week's controversial remarks. “He’s very good for here," Loria said. "Excellent. Not only for here, for any team."
  • When the Yankees signed Derek Jeter to a three-year, $51MM contract two offseasons ago, they felt it was an overpay, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. But the shortstop played tremendously down the stretch in 2011 and has started the 2012 season well.
  • ESPN.com’s Buster Olney suggests the Giants will likely want to see Tim Lincecum rebound from his early-season struggles before offering him an extension at market value.
  • Indians manager Manny Acta told Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio that top prospect Lonnie Chisenhall remains Cleveland's future third baseman and won’t become trade bait this summer (Twitter link, audio here).

Giants Touch Base With Posey, Lincecum On Contracts

Giants VP of baseball operations Bobby Evans said he contacted Buster Posey's agent today in regards to a possible multiyear extension for the catcher, and also told Tim Lincecum's agent that the right-hander is also still in the team's plans.  (Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area and Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle tweet the details from Evans' talk with media members.)

The Giants and Posey first talked a possible extension in the spring and now that Posey has shown himself to be apparently recovered from the broken leg that prematurely ended his 2011 season, it's no surprise that the club has revisited locking up its best young position player.  Carlos Santana's recent five-year, $21MM extension with the Indians will probably serve as a reference point for what a Posey extension might look like.

As for Lincecum, it sounds as if Evans was simply making a courtesy call to indicate that nothing had changed in regards to the Giants' desire to sign Lincecum to a long-term contract.  "Obviously we'll be looking toward that in the future," Evans said.  Earlier today, Schulman wrote that the added cost certainty achieved by signing Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain to extensions increases the chances of the Giants also extending Lincecum.

Despite the Giants' recent spate of moves, it may yet be a while before we see Posey or Lincecum extended.  Evans said he didn't expect any negotiations to take place during the season but "there will be a time we address that" (Twitter link).

Bay Area Notes: San Jose, Bumgarner, Lincecum

Long-time Athletics minor league roving instructor Ron Plaza passed away last night at age 77, according to a team media release.  Plaza had been with the A's since 1983, and also worked for the Reds and Cardinals organizations during his 61-year career in baseball as a player, manager and coach.  We at MLBTR send our condolences to Plaza's family, friends and colleagues.

Here's the latest from both the A's and the Giants…

  • The Athletics aim to put their new stadium and proposed move to San Jose on the agenda for next month's owners meetings, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.  By forcing the other owners to vote on the move, the A's would finally get some resolution on an issue that has dragged on for three years.  Neither A's owner Lew Wolff or GM Billy Beane would comment on the story.
  • One of Slusser's sources (Twitter link) isn't certain if the A's will be successful in getting their case heard at the owners meetings.  It will ultimately be up to Bud Selig, who decides on the meetings' agenda.
  • Madison Bumgarner's extension with the Giants is "a win for everyone involved," writes Dave Cameron for Fangraphs.
  • The Giants now have greater cost certainty with Bumgarner and Matt Cain both locked up to multiyear contracts, which Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter) feels will make the team likelier to sign Tim Lincecum to a long-term deal "if he has a good year."  Lincecum signed a two-year pact with the Giants in January that puts him on pace to hit free agency after the 2013 season.

The Latest On Matt Cain & Tim Lincecum

There's an "understanding" between the Giants and Matt Cain that they'll try to wrap up contract extension talks before the Opening Day, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. There is no evidence they are close to a deal or that they've even made progress in recent weeks. Extension talks with Tim Lincecum are on hold so the team can focus on Cain given the short window.

The Giants made Cain an initial offer a few weeks ago, though the 27-year-old right-hander is said to be seeking a nine-figure guarantee. The team's offer was not close to $100MM according to Heyman. Cain will earn $15MM in 2012 before hitting the open market next winter, when he will arguably be the best free agent right-handed starter since Mike Mussina in 2000.

Lincecum signed a two-year extension worth $40.5MM this offseason, and San Francisco offered him a five-year deal worth roughly $100MM not too long ago. The two sides are said to be $75MM or so apart.

NL West Notes: Lincecum, Padres, Moores, Jimenez

Here's a look at some items out of the National League West..

  • The Giants offered Tim Lincecum at least $100MM over five years a couple months back, but it now it appears that the two sides are at least $75MM apart, with the right-hander looking for a seven- or eight-year deal, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
  • Jeff Moorad has withdrawn his application to be the controlling partner of the Padres, meaning that John Moores will own the team for the foreseeable future, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
  • Tom Krasovic of Inside The Padres runs down the particulars of what this means for the future of the club.  Moorad will remain the Vice Chairman and CEO of the Padres while Moores will remain the majority owner of the team as he has since 1994-95.  Krasovic also writes that MLB is likely to approve the 20-year TV deal between the Padres and FOX.
  • Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez don't exactly see eye-to-eye with former teammate Ubaldo Jimenez on his dissatisfaction with the Rockies, writes Scott Miller of CBSSports.com.  The pitcher said that he was upset with the club in part because Tulowitzski and Gonzalez received lucrative new deals following the 2010 season while he did not.

Giants Notes: Cain, Lincecum, Payroll, Beltran

The Giants made their roster available to the media today, on the eve of the club's annual FanFest event. Here's latest on the 2010 World Champs…

  • “We’ve talked … and it’s a process,” said Matt Cain to reporters (including Andrew Baggarly of The Mercury News) when asked about an extension. “We’ll see what’s going to happen. We’re definitely here for this year.”
  • The right-hander did stop short of saying he'll give the team a hometown discount. “That’s tough,” he said. “You definitely love being in San Francisco, and we do. We have a year till free agency. That’s something as a player you think about, having that opportunity. It’s hard to say what will happen in these next several months.”
  • “Budget won’t be a factor," said GM Brian Sabean when asked about signing both Cain and Tim Lincecum long-term. "We’ll have enough wherewithal in the budget that we won’t have to pick. Whether that happens, I can’t predict. But we have it in the budget to sign both players.”
  • Sabean also said that increasing payroll to add players in midseason has "always been possible with our ownership group" according to John Shea of The San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter).
  • The Giants wanted Carlos Beltran back as a left fielder, says Shea (on Twitter). They were willing to give him two years, but not the $26MM the Cardinals gave him.

Bay Area Notes: Nady, Lincecum, Manny, Jackson

Moneyball received six Academy Award nominations on Tuesday, joining Pride Of The Yankees and Field Of Dreams as the only baseball-centric movies to ever be nominated for the prestigious Best Picture Oscar.  While I'm not sure if I'd call Moneyball one of the very best films of the year, it's definitely a well-made, entertaining movie, as outlined in my review from last September.

Here are some non-cinematic notes from both the Athletics and the Giants in this roundup of Bay Area news…

Giants Sign Tim Lincecum To Two-Year Deal

The Giants and Tim Lincecum have agreed to a two-year, $40.5MM contract extension, avoiding arbitration with the two-time Cy Young Award winner.  The contract became official once Lincecum passed his physical with the team. 

The two-year deal buys out Lincecum's final two seasons of arbitration eligibility and avoids a potentially historic hearing.  The right-hander will earn $18MM in 2012 and $22MM in 2013 to go along with a $500K signing bonus.  The deal includes a limited no-trade clause that allows Lincecum to select a certain number of teams to which he can block a trade.  Both sides remain open to discussing a longer term contract in the near future.

Lincecum, a Beverly Hills Sports Council client, filed for a $21.5MM salary through arbitration and the Giants countered at $17MM, as MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker shows. Both figures set new records for players with less than six years of service time. Derek Jeter ($18.5MM) and the Yankees ($14.25MM) had established the previous marks more than a decade ago, in 2001.

Lincecum, 27, has a 2.98 ERA with 9.9 K/9, 3.3 BB/9 and a 47.1% ground ball rate in 1028 career innings. He already has two Cy Young Awards and four All-Star Game selections to his name. Only four pitchers – Roy HalladayC.C. SabathiaJustin Verlander and Dan Haren – have produced more wins above replacement since 2007, Lincecum's rookie season.

Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle was the first to report that an agreement had been reached, with Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reporting earlier on Tuesday that the sides were "very, very close" to a two-year deal worth a little more than $40MM.  Schulman, his Chronicle colleague John Shea and Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News all added contract details (all links are via Twitter).

Rosenthal On Lincecum, Jackson, Red Sox, Abreu

The Prince Fielder sweepstakes are nearing an end, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports wrote earlier this morning. Click here for the latest on Fielder and continue reading for Rosenthal’s rumors…

  • It appears likely that Giants starter Tim Lincecum will sign a two-year deal in the $41-42MM range, Rosenthal writes. The Giants and their ace right-hander exchanged arbitration submissions last week and the club has since offered Lincecum a deal worth $100MM-plus.
  • It’s possible that Edwin Jackson will sign a one-year contract, like fellow Scott Boras client Ryan Madson. The Red Sox and Mariners could be interested in Jackson if he’s willing to sign for one year. 
  • The Red Sox aren’t pursuing Wandy Rodriguez, according to Rosenthal.
  • The Orioles could be a logical trade partner for Yankees right-hander A.J. Burnett in Rosenthal’s estimation.
  • The Red Sox seem to have interest in acquiring an everyday shortstop and the Reds, Giants and Rays are looking for veteran shortstop help, Rosenthal writes. 
  • Free agent infielder Ryan Theriot would prefer to stay in the National League, unless he can obtain a starting job.
  • Earlier in the offseason the Astros inquired about Ian Desmond, who hasn’t convinced everyone with the Nationals that he’s their long-term solution at shortstop.
  • Some teams would play Gordon Beckham at short, according to Rosenthal. Beckham has only played second and third in three seasons at the MLB level.
  • The Angels aren’t ready to trade Bobby Abreu, who could be a fit for Detroit’s DH opening.