While other teams are wisely signing their young stars to long-term deals covering their peak years, the San Francisco Giants are playing a dangerous game with ace Tim Lincecum.
First, they submit a laughably low $8 million offer in arbitration for a guy who just won his second consecutive National League Cy Young Award. Then they offer their 25-year star only a two-year deal, perhaps out of fear that his unorthodox delivery will get him hurt. By comparison, King Felix Hernandez just signed a five-year deal with the Seattle Mariners for $78 million.
Lincecum is a rare gem in baseball, a stud pitcher who is dominating at a ridiculously early age. His career stats: 40-17, 2.90 ERA, 676 strikeouts. Are you kidding me?
They still have time to come to an agreement, but the financial gap is wide and the bitterness is growing. I fear the Giants and Lincecum are heading for a nasty arbitration hearing, one where the team could bring up the misdeameanor drug charge Lincecum is facing. But it's a fight the Giants will lose even if they manage to convince an arbitration panel that Lincecum is not worth the $13 million he's asking for.
I'm a fan of teams trying to retain their young stars because I believe it's good for baseball. But if the team is not willing to cooperate, it's their loss. Don't worry, Tim. The New York Yankees will wait for you.
Thanks to Acordova via Wikipedia for the photo.