They call Tim Lincecum the Freak for his unusual delivery, but the nickname may also apply when it comes to contract talks. While most players are eager to sign their first long-term deal, the Giants’ two-time Cy Young winner told Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle that he feels most comfortable on one or two-year contracts.
"It's just easier for me mentally not to have to put that kind of pressure on yourself," he said. "Not that you don't want to succeed, but when you're signed to a long-term deal, it's like saying, 'I'm going to live up to every expectation.' That's why I like going year to year, so I can improve on it and not sit on what I've done."
Lincecum still has two years of arbitration eligibility after this season and he says he’d be open to a two-year deal similar to the one that bought out his first two seasons of arbitration eligibility. He says he likes the two-year, $23MM contract he signed before the 2010 season, since it allowed him to move gradually through the arbitration process. But if the Giants make an aggressive long-term offer, the Beverly Hills Sports Council client will listen.
"It all depends on how they come after me," he told Schulman. "If it's aggressive, obviously I want to take that into consideration and talk about it with my agent and see what he thinks is good. I haven't dismissed anything."
Lincecum says he isn’t sure how he’ll feel in three or five years and added that he isn’t worried about the Giants’ offense, which currently ranks last in the National League in runs scored.
When MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes previewed Lincecum’s arbitration case in May, the agents he surveyed suggested a 2012 salary in the $19-22MM range would be fair assuming a “normal season.” The 27-year-old right-hander has a 2.59 ERA with 9.2 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 212 innings and though he won’t win the Cy Young Award he has set himself up for $20MM-plus in 2012 and even more in 2013. In other words, Lincecum gets as much guaranteed money going year to year as many pitchers obtain on multiyear deals in free agency.