November 04, 2011
If the key to building a consistent winner is nullifying emotion and treating players as commodities, then the San Francisco Giants really might have a big decision to weigh this winter.
While it's true the initial response to Jon Paul Morosi's suggestion on Fox Sports is to scoff, the truly objective among us will see that there's an argument to be made. The Giants have a stockpile of great young pitching and are in major need of offense. Lincecum is the best of the bunch, so he'd bring the best return. He'd also provide the most savings as he's been loathe to sign a long-term extension that would be more palatable for the franchise.
Lincecum (13-14, 2.74, 220 Ks) is coming off a two-year, $23 million deal that was signed amid expectations he would set a new record in salary arbitration. He's probably going to earn $17 million next year and upwards of $20 million in '13, assuming his performance remains constant. At those numbers, Lincecum will achieve great wealth before reaching free agency. So he has little incentive to sign a long-term extension. He can take his chances on the market while perhaps setting a record or two in the process.
The thinking is that GM Brian Sabean won't have enough cash to go after one of the big first baseman —oh, what they might've done with the $32 million they owe Barry Zito(notes) and Aaron Rowand(notes) in 2012 — but they will if the cuts come from elsewhere.
As Morosi notes, there have been no rumblings to indicate that trading Lincecum is even a thought in Sabean's noggin. And I'm not saying that it should be. With four great seasons, two Cy Youngs and a World Series title already under his belt, Lincecum isn't the type of ballplayer you easily jettison. Especially when he's the indisputable face of your franchise who sells tickets, jerseys and ad space.
But if it takes money to make money, you can at least see where the idea might creep into the brains of a team with a deficient lineup.
What do you think?
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