Market Continues to Shift: Giants Re-Sign Tim Lincecum for Two Years and $35 Million

MoneyToday, the San Francisco Giants extended pitcher Tim Lincecum with a staggering two-year, $35 million contract.

It isn’t often than you can call any two year deal “staggering,” let alone one with just $35 million on the line. But, consider this: that $17.5 million annually would have made Lincecum the 10th highest-paid pitcher in baseball last year, and that includes three expiring contracts for guys who won’t make anything close to that next time around (Johan Santana, Roy Halladay, and Barry Zito). That means, come next year, Lincecum is a near lock to be among the 10 highest-paid pitchers in all of baseball. Top ten.

Factor in a reported no-trade clause, and this is a serious commitment by the Giants. What’s incredible is not just the makeup of the contract – it’s the fact that the Giants had to give Lincecum a no-trade clause in order to agree to a “mere” $35 million deal. Further, this is an extension. Lincecum hasn’t even reached free agency yet. That makes you wonder just what kind of deal the Giants were projecting Lincecum could have received on the open market.

That makes me wonder what the contracts are going to look like this offseason.

Although he rebounded somewhat this year from a 2012 season in which he could have justifiably been called the worst starting pitcher in baseball (with more than 175 innings, at least), Lincecum was still worth just 1.6 wins in 2013. His 4.37 ERA was the worst of his career, outside of 2012, and the same is true of his 3.74 FIP and 3.56 xFIP. Worse, his K rate was the lowest of his career (tied with 2012), and his walk rate only improved slightly (9.0% versus 10.9%). His fastball velocity, which had dropped dramatically in 2012 to just 90.4 mph on average, stayed down, at 90.2 mph. Lincecum turns 30 next year, so it’s not like the velocity is likely to come back.

On the heels of his disastrous 2012 season, this is a guy who is worth $17.5 million per year and a no-trade clause? Sure, you can dream on what he once was, and perhaps he’s a marketing vehicle of particularized value to the Giants, but I can’t wrap my head around this contract.

Unless, of course, salaries are going to take another dramatic step forward this offseason. If so, it doesn’t bode well for a Cubs front office that was already expected to take the conservative route.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

127 responses to “Market Continues to Shift: Giants Re-Sign Tim Lincecum for Two Years and $35 Million”

  1. Escalating Salaries, the Merit of Extensions, and a Suggested Offseason Strategy | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary

    […] was thinking quite a bit about that Tim Lincecum deal last night (because that’s what I do with my spare time – think about relatively minor […]

  2. cubfanincardinalland

    How stupid do Adam Wainwright and his agent look? Could have been a free agent next week, signed a 5 year contract instead for 19.5 million a year. Conservatively, he left 50 million on the table, probably more the way the market looks right now.

    1. dumbledoresacubsfan

      I’d probably take the discounted contract (that is still an awfully large amount of money) and stay on the Cardinals for the next five years, too.

  3. notcubbiewubbie

    did i miss something or is jim hendry now in san francisco?? just wondering

  4. Lukewarm Stove: Ellsbury, Jimenez, Choo, Oh, More | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary

    […] there’s a chance they might not even make him a qualifying offer. Given that Lincecum deal (two years, $35 million and a no-trade clause), I can’t fathom the Indians not giving Jimenez a qualifying offer (about $14 million for one […]

  5. Lukewarm Stove: Cubs Reportedly Targeting Tanaka, and Posting Changes Could Be on Tap | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary

    […] was striking after 2011. It was shocking after 2012. And after this season? How would you describe the Tim Lincecum contract? I would call it paradigm-shifting. There is a new normal now, and elite, prime age talent like […]

  6. Tim Hudson and the Giants Help Set the Second Tier Starting Market at Two Years and $23 Million | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary

    […] and most broadly, the Hudson deal is the first indicator – other than the Tim Lincecum deal, which was bizarre for many reasons (wow, both early deals are for pitchers named Tim by the […]

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