Tim Lincecum – the $21.5 million man?

18 Jan

Giants Ace, Tim Lincecum has gone to salary arbitration seeking a new $21.5 million deal and it’s hard to see how he won’t win his case given the other pitchers in his price range. Lincecum is only a half million off the record $22 million Roger Clemens went after, and to be honest, Lincecum is more deserving of that kind of money at this point of his career than Clemens was when he sought it.Lincecum commented:

“I’m overall optimistic that we’ll find common ground without a hearing room,” Bobby Evans, Giants vice president of baseball operations, said before seeing Lincecum’s filing numbers. “It’s a process that begins long before today in terms of conversations about possible deals that work for both sides. That process has continued in a mutual fashion. At this point we haven’t reached a conclusion.”

If successful, Lincecum would receive a raise of $8.4 million over last season. Even when Lincecum isn’t at his best, he is still among the elite in baseball. Despite mind boggling mechanics, Lincecum remains pretty healthy, piles up innings and makes one quality start after another. While the Giants are reportedly not too enthused that Lincecum has gone to arbitration it is a fate they have to accept. Losing Lincecum is not an option, but some believe this may be the first step toward the young star walking.

Arbitration is notoriously hard on players. The process pits the franchise against the player which often creates animosity. Sometimes that animosity lingers – no player likes having his team point out why he doesn’t deserve a deal – particularly the face of a franchise.  While all analysts are in agreement for the most part that SF needs Lincecum long term and Lincecum wants to be a Giant, that has not stopped star players from walking in the past. Lincecum is a talent that could score record breaking money if he put his talents on the open market as their isn’t any team that legitimately can’t say he wouldn’t benefit their organization.

Is this the beginning of the end, or will SF step up and work out a deal during the season to extend their young star? The jury is still out, but it would be a shame to see a young star like Lincecum leave the one organization he’s ever known.

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