Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lincecum Signs: Two Years, $40.5M

Tim Lincecum has signed a two year, $40.5M contract with a limited no-trade clause (Baggarly).  $18M for 2012, $22M for 2013, $500K bonus (I still wonder what the accounting benefit to the Giants or Lincecum or both is, for having a bonus versus salary; does that go straight to Lincecum, avoiding the agent fee?)  The Giants had offered $40M and Lincecum's side asked for $44M, so the final contract figure ended up basically just over the Giants offer, which was very close to the arbitration submissions by the two sides ($17M and $21.5M).

The Giants reportedly had offered 5 years, $100M, but Lincecum's side turned that down, which I understand, because that basically values each year like the two year deal, at $20M AAV.  He is probably looking to get CC type money in his free agent years.  Lincecum had said in an interview late in the 2011 season that he preferred shorter deals because there's less pressure involved, but then when his agent asked for an 8 year contract, that statement just rings false.

Baggarly and Schulman followed up on the news with more focused posts.

Baggarly focused more on Lincecum's agent (and the Giants) saying that this deal does not preclude a longer term deal later.  He astutely notes that with the arbitration clock ticking, the impetus now is to get a deal done that stops that clock within that timespan, and the two sides were more in sync on a two year contract, and thus they got that done first.  He noted the example of Wilson signing to avoid arbitration, then signing a longer deal in the spring.  Lastly, he said that the payroll ended up a little less than the $130M announced cap.

Schulman had a nice post covering a lot of different things, I recommend checking it out for all the details, the link is above.  He noted two critical points:  1) that this does not mean that Lincecum does not want to be here long-term, and 2) Lincecum is taking the risk by accepting the two year deal instead of the five year.

Schulman also noted some interesting things about Cain:
If reports are true, Matt Cain is taking the opposite tack. He’s willing to accept a below-market, long-term deal in exchange for that security and stability. I’m told no deal is imminent with Cain.
Giants Thoughts

I like the deal but wish Lincecum had took the five year deal, though I understand why he didn't, the Giants probably should have offered something in the $110-120M range to get that deal done.  I like knowing that we have him for a long time, so this is disappointing in that it is only two years.

But the Baggarly post about Lincecum's agent's comments that this does not preclude a longer deal signed later was heartening, as that suggests that they and the Giants are planning on continuing to discuss the parameters of a longer term deal somewhere down the line, that the interest is there on both sides.

I was disappointed that there was no deal imminent with Cain, but also understand since the Giants were probably focused on all the arbitration deals.  Now perhaps they will work more diligently on it.  I didn't really think that a deal would be done until spring training anyway, I think both of his long-term deals were announced in spring training before, so why would this one be different.

So I'm happy but not ecstatically happy, but that's OK too, a $100M+ contract is just a lot of risk to take on.  If Lincecum is OK with 2 year contracts going forward, I'll be OK with that too.  But I would be just as happy to have Cain signed to a 5 year, $80-90M deal as well.  He's a Hoss.


  1. I don't know either Matt Cain or Tim Lincecum, but based on their overall demeanor, Timmy strikes me as a risk taker at heart while Cainer is all about security and stability. I don't think you can overestimate the importance of that when it comes to what types of contracts they are looking for.

    I don't think Timmy's reluctance to sign a long term deal is really about the money or about not liking it in SF. I think he's just the type of guy who doesn't like to feel fenced in or like he's settled down for the long haul quite yet. Yes, that may still mean that he tests FA and gets a huge offer he can't refuse somewhere else, but I don't think that's a foregone conclusion either.

    Cainer is all about settling down, going to work at the same job every day and coming home to the wifey and kids every night.

    One more thing: I'm guessing the Giants secretly like this deal better than 5 years or even 4 years. Timmy's numbers have slipped the last 2 years. If that trend continues, he may well not be worth $20 M on the open market in 2 more years.

    1. I agree, DrB.

      Risk taker, money hungry, knows what his value is, those can all be used to describe Lincecum and his behavior relative to contracts. The Indians offered him 6 figures but he wanted an even $1M. The Giants were slotted to pay him $1.8M but he wanted the $2.0M that the 10th spot got the year before. The Giants offered $7M and he asked for $13M.

      Cain, however, has gone for the security and stability, first with the long-term contract that bought out his arb years, I still think he should have gotten more than what Lowry got, they got basically the same contract. Then he signed the extension before that one expired. He has already bought a home in SF, married, and has a child already. Family man and stability/security are tied together.

      I can go for that on Lincecum. He did say in that good Schulman interview that he didn't want a long contract because he did not know how he would feel in 5 years. So short deals are fine with him.

      And perhaps he feels secure in his ability to last, so he doesn't need the long contract to feel secure, he is secure with himself and happy to take what he can get, the value he is owed.

      And, speaking as a OCD type, his behavior of wanting to get the value he believe himself to be worth also would apply the other way around, I would not want to be paid a lot if I'm not providing the value I'm being paid for, that would bother me, so perhaps he is bothered by that too.

      Yeah, I agree, the Giants must like the current deal better because if they wanted Lincecum to sign a 5 year deal, they really had to offer in the $110M+ range, they probably threw that out there to 1) show that they are willing to throw the big money (perhaps fight public view that they are cheap), 2) if Lincecum bites, then they got a great deal on Lincecum's 3, 4, 5 seasons, and 3) to at least look like they are willing to sign Lincecum to a long deal (both for public and Lincecum and his agent).

  2. Krukow was on KNBR this morning and he thinks Lincecum and Cain both would like to stay here. Lincecum, Kruk noted, saw what happened to Zito with the big contract and he surmises that Timmy might not want that type of pressure, at least not yet. Other good stuff, I need to re-listen to that.

  3. Some more good Schulman info: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/01/25/SPR11MTTRB.DTL&feed=rss.giants

    Sources said Lincecum and the Giants discussed deals beyond two years. According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, Lincecum rejected a five-year offer worth at least $100 million, which only feeds fans' fears that the 27-year-old right-hander wants out after 2013 because of a perennially weak offense.

    But one source said that issue did not arise in contract talks. In the September interview, Lincecum insisted that was not why he wanted a shorter deal.

    Asked why he did not prefer a lengthier deal, he said, "It's just easier for me mentally not to have to put that kind of pressure on yourself. 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."

    The Giants' last major business this winter is extending Cain, who will earn $15 million this season to complete a three-year deal. Cain is eligible for free agency after 2012, but multiple reports suggest he is motivated to stay in San Francisco with a long-term deal for less money than he might earn on the open market.

    The team also might not be done shopping for 2012. Though the Giants are not actively pursuing free agents and consider the core of the team set, they are monitoring players still unsigned three weeks before spring training.

    The Giants would consider major-league contracts for position players who could add depth at bargain prices.

    Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/01/24/SPR11MTTRB.DTL#ixzz1kV1ZCwci

    1. Shows how much all those people who thought Lincecum would bolt due to the poor offense were wrong to think that. I still get a chuckle thinking about when they accused me of putting words in Lincecum's and Cain's mouth.

    2. Uh, if SF hadn't offered so much money Lincecum would be gone. Now, if you see a player signing for less than market, what you like to call a "home town discount", then yes--I would agree.

    3. Anon, the point is that a lot of these people said that Lincecum would bolt because of the poor offense, implying that he would mark up his price for signing with the Giants, control or no control.

      The economic implication is that the Giants would have to pay Lincecum extra to keep him happy, else he would have fought it out in arbitration. That the Giants and Lincecum came to an agreement suggests that he does not have such a mark-up.

      But to your point, it could be that he just wanted to get a deal done now, and once he becomes a free agent, that's when the mark-up would be asked for to stay in SF.

      Still, there was no negotiating advantage to Lincecum's agent publicly stating that the deal does not preclude the two sides continuing to discuss a longer term deal that covers him staying with the Giants long-term. That implies that they are serious about negotiating with the Giants and not asking for extra to stay with the Giants and their less than stellar offense.

      And I think the offense will prove to not be so lousy in 2012 and beyond, with the development of Belt, Crawford, Brown, and Panik, and continual improvement from Sandoval and Posey.

  4. Diving back into the Timmy discussion some more, I think national pundits are going to predict early, loudly and often that he is gone. I don't believe it, I think the Giants always have a shot. He does want to get his market value, and I can't blame him for that. Reports of 200MM are over the top yes, but why shouldn't he get a CC Sabathia style deal? He's got the same stats and better hardware.

    I think just like how it ended up with the 2/40.5MM its a mixed bag for both. Timmy knows how good the crowds are, the park is, and the legacy. On the other hand, he's got some unique stats, awards and value. Its going to hurt to ante up for that. At some point it might get to be too much. But we don't know the negotiation, and we don't know what he's thinking. Keeping an even keel about it is the best thing to do. Timmy is a very thoughtful guy. I would not dismiss the Krukow Zito theory whatsoever.

    I'm actually quite encouraged by the beat writers reports, and the mutual respect shown. I view the national writers, specifically someone like Heyman who's sources are all agents, with a bit of skepticism. The bottom line to me, is Sabean and the Brain Trust and the Rainy Day Fund Crew won't let go of Timmy without a drag down fight. For Sabean its sentiment and skill, for the RDF's its marketing. There is also nothing wrong with hedging risk and making sure the velocity and ratios are OK. I happen to think they are, but who the hell knows. If anyone, it'll be the Giants pitching staff that has the best clue on that one.

    I agree with how you stood up to the bolting comments, the poor offense, and putting words/thoughts on what the players are thinking. There are clear positives that get thrown out the window immediately when the prospect of the Aces bolting. And its laughable - Seattle? Home of an even worse offense and morbidly dead crowds? Really? You realize the next one is going to be MadBum and Posey wanting to be closer to home so they can ride their tractors right, and enjoy peach cobbler right? Get ready for some more silly arguments on that front. Players want to be paid what they feel they deserve. I don't have any problem with that. Just because Longoria signed an insane buyout and Moore looks good and did the same thing doesn't mean other players will. There is a lot of "we want to be the Rays front office" in Saber Giant Fan land. We're not, for worse at times, yes, but if you spend too much time looking at the other side, you miss out on what you got!

    I don't care if Cain signs a 6/120 or a 5/85. I'd just like that part taken care of. Reports are looking good, but its gotta happen. That would make this a fairly successful offseason in my book. Now if they could take a crack at Posey/Madbum as well, that would be awesome.



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