It turns out that Tim Lincecum did the San Francisco Giants a huge favor when he turned down long-term contract discussions a few years ago.
Lincecum won back-to-back Cy Young Awards in 2008 and 2009, made the All-Star Game the following two years, and seemed like a lock to eventually sign one of the biggest contracts for a pitcher in MLB. But like some predicted, the diminutive starter fell off and looked like just an average pitcher the past two years. Now it’s finally his time to be a free agent, and it sounds like he is ready to explore the market.
CSN Bay Area’s Andrew Baggarly reported on Thursday that the Giants have offered Lincecum a two-year deal but talks have not progressed. If they don’t make progress, Baggarly says the Giants are expected to give Lincecum a qualifying offer of almost $14 million for one year. If Lincecum turns down the offer, the Giants would receive a draft pick as compensation from the team that signs Lincecum. Lincecum’s market might be limited because teams might not want to give up a pick in order to sign him.
As mentioned in the post, it’s crazy how much things have changed for Lincecum. Two years ago he seemed like a $150 million pitcher. Now I really wouldn’t be crazy about giving him more than $10 million on a one-year deal. I just hope he doesn’t have any regrets about not signing a multi-million dollar extension when he had the chance.
It seems imprudent to expect Timmy to go back to dominating. He’s always had a great slider, curve, and changeup, but part of what made those pitches so dangerous was his fastball. Everything is tougher for a hitter when you throw harder. But, per Fangraphs, Lincecum’s average fastball velocity has declined the past two seasons. He averaged 94.1 mph on his fastball when he won the Cy Young in 2008, and 92.4 mph in 2009. He was down to 90.4 mph in 2012 and 90.2 mph in 2013. I don’t know how anyone could look at that and expect to get an All-Star if they sign him.