September 25, 2009
Or will Lincecum allow the Giants to buy out any or all of his four arbitration-eligible years with a long-term contract (which is something he just told the San Francisco Chronicle he'd be open to)?
It's going to be an interesting situation to follow and mostly because we're sailing on uncharted waters. There's never been a pitcher who has entered his first year of arbitration with one (and possibly two) Cy Young awards under his powerful right arm. Plus, as the likable face of the franchise and a guaranteed gate draw, Lincecum is dealing from an unmatched position of power.
But it's not like the Giants don't have a few things going for them. Lincecum has publicly stated that he sees himself staying in San Francisco and he doesn't seem like the greedy type — as his love for skullcaps and Dinty Moore Stew might signal.
One thing is for certain: Tiny Tim is going to be making a lot more next season than his 2009 salary of $650,000. The record for a first-time eligible pitcher is $6.25 million for Jonathan Papelbon(notes) and if he goes the contract route, he should be able to command more than Cole Hamels'(notes) 3/$20.5 million deal or Zack Greinke's(notes) 4/$38 million sheet.
All things considered, I think it's in the best interests of both parties to work toward multi-year deal. The Giants please their team cornerstone while avoiding the even larger paycheck that a third (or fourth or fifth) Cy Young might bring. Meanwhile, Lincecum gets a lot of security should that wonderful windup somehow start betraying him.
What do you think? Which route should Lincecum and the Giants take this offseason?