Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Why do Lincey this way?

Quick note before the post: The website, is now seeking The Dodgerhater's opinions on matters of the Giants. Check out my first entry here. Also, Check the little Twitter box on the left column of this site. I'm using it to put up sweet links that aren't worthy of their own post. In addition, yesterday The Dodgerhater was added to Yahoo's Big League Stew's Giants blog directory. Big stuff. Tons of traffic. Thanks to everyone who reads this!

Now, to more important matters:

Tim Lincecum is the best pitcher in baseball.

Did my nose grow any longer? Did I go into convulsions like Jim Carrey in Liar Liar (see video below)?

This is because the above statement is true. Tim Lincecum is the best pitcher in baseball... and he's only 25.

Baseball's system of rookie deals, arbitration, team control, and absurd uncapped free agent deals, really makes for a screwy game of back and forth for players like Timmy.

His rookie deal out of U-Dub paid him a $2.025MM signing bonus, and he made $405k in '08 and $650k in '09. Yeah, that makes him a moderately rich man already, and we all wish we had that much in the bank. But he's the best pitcher alive who happens to be making Pauly Shore royalty money, when he really deserves something cooler. Like Horatio Caine money or better.

This system greatly benefits teams like the Giants and Brewers who have these type of players under control for six years at reasonable rates, arbitration raises notwithstanding. Guys like Lincecum and Prince Fielder are making peanuts in comparison to what they're worth, and it's just the nature of the beast. They'll get their chance to make their money, it's just a matter of time.

But, herein lies the issue.

When teams like the Giants play the whole "precedent" game and act like a bunch of stingy ass lawyers, the player becomes irked. If Timmy is a guy like Terrell Owens or Rickey Henderson and speaks in the third person, he becomes "disrespected" and begins holding a grudge against his team. Luckily Timmy is easygoing and probably wouldn't know how to spend $8-13MM if he tried. That doesn't mean that he is okay with being lowballed.

Timmy's position is: "I've been the best pitcher in baseball, and have carried this team for two years. I was better than CC Sabathia, Dan Haren, Roy Halladay, and Johan Santana, and you think that I deserve less than $13 mil? WTF do I have to do? Eliminate drug dealers in the Bayview? I'm only asking for $13 mil. I could've asked for $16!"

This is the Giants' case... "Uh, well. You're too young, and we've offered you a record... uh... so yeah."

I think this video will help illustrate Bobby Evans/Sabean's future hearing performance. Click here if you're on an Email Newsfeed or Facebook:

Take Fangraphs' numbers. You can say what you will about these nerds, but their stats are pretty damned accurate and their projections are extremely relevant.

In '09, Timmy was worth $37MM according to Fangraphs. Only Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke were worth more (somehow). And, if you go back, Timmy was worth $33.7MM in '08 and $13.2MM as a rookie in '07 when he threw less than 150 innings!

As I count it, Timmy's career so far has been worth $83.9MM. And he's only earned $2.675MM. Maybe they should take those numbers to the arbitrator.

The point in all this is to say that the Giants, with their lowball offer of $8MM, does more harm than good. Obviously, payroll flexibility is the most important thing for the Giants, and I get that. I've gotten that ad nauseum.

But what good does payroll flexibility do when the best player you've had since Barry Bonds, and the best pitcher since Juan Marichial is pissed off and feels slighted?

It's not that Timmy won't win the $13MM at arbitration, as the mediator will pick his submission, it's the fact that the Giants lowballed him pretty badly, and they know it.

What's strange about it is that it looks like the Giants never had any intention of trying to hammer out any middle ground before the hearing takes place in a few weeks, mentioned here by Andrew Baggarly.

It's as if the Giants are either resigned to losing the case, or really live in a fantasy world where their "record offer to a player with less than three years of service" is deserving of a win, and are so confident in that that they won't budge to a middle ground. Apparently they've barely even spoken to Lincey's agent, Rick Thurman.

It's just an example of poor management.

I've defended this front office as much or more than anyone out there, and I've gotta say that I'm hanging them out to dry in this case. Any action that offends, frustrates, or angers Timothy Lincecum is the incorrect action, and they need to know that.



  1. 8 million dollars for a first year eligible player is not "lowballing him pretty badly", it's the record amount offered to a starting pitcher.

    you seem aware that it's the record amount, so what numbers exactly are you comparing this to that makes it so unfair? besides of course starting pitchers who've pitcher the required 6 years to be on the open market and receive values closer to what they're valued as on fangraphs. and what numbers do you think are fair? are you just arbitrarily picking a number closer to $37 million than 400k?

    arbitration eligible is not the open market. they are still under team control. it's a compromise to allow teams to afford players they wouldn't normally be able to afford, and to allow good players to make more than league minimum. it also operates under a small sample size of < 6 years. for every year of experience they add to their career, their value gets closer to what they're actually worth. lincecum has no precedent and the giants are in a tough situation as pitchers who may go on to have similar careers as him (felix/greinke) didn't peak as early and had much less leverage and made much less than 8 million their first year.

    also, other clubs have a policy of not negotiating with their eligible player after they submit numbers. so it's not as insane that the giants didn't talk much after numbers were submitted.

  2. Yes, the Fangraphs numbers aren't real, I know that. It's simply another stat out there that tries to apply another value to a stat other than percentages, totals, and strange decimals.

    What Timmy has done so far is unprecedented, and therefore warrants and unprecedented dollar figure as a salary.

    The main point I was trying to make in this article is that the organization needs to keep Timmy happy, and he deserves to be rewarded for what he's done.

    What if in the next two arby hearings, he feels lowballed again? The unthinkable could happen when he's eligible for free agency.

    It's not just me who thinks this:

  3. I never said the fangraph value numbers are meaningless, i'm saying, they are numbers based on value on the open market, and shouldn't be used as a point of comparison when talking about what a first year arbitration eligible player deserves.

    I also understand that lincecum's situation is unprecedented. But 8 million is an unprecedented offer, so if youre going to vehemently argue against it as lowballed, you need to compare it to SOMETHING. The giants are going to try to go as low as possible and lincecum's side is going to try to go as high as they can, while still seeming reasonable to an arbitrator. That's how these cases work. They giants are trying to save money so they can build a competitive team.

    Is lincecum really going to be pissed that his team, who spent 24 million dollars this offseason on free agents alone in order to make the team around him more competitive, are trying to not to blow 5 million extra dollars (more than what half of their free agents each cost) on him?

    I'm aware that other people agree with you. If there was a fox news for baseball, urban would be their o'reilly. I don't think you could find someone who's opinion I take less seriously.

  4. Haha, well let's leave O'Reilly out of this. If it's absurdity we're talking about, let's call him Sean Hannity.

    I think part of the biggest argument here is that guys like Urban and I feel terrified as hell that Lincecum will one day leave the Giants as a free agent, bringing our sports world crashing down all around us.

    It's a fear that we really have never experienced with the Giants. We never thought Barry would ever leave, and any other player was just kind of "meh...".

    I agree that an unprecedented offer for an unprecedented performance has been made, but there seems to be this feeling that the arbitration system could be on its way to being broken and getting out of control.

    Basically, guys like me and Urban want Timmy to be totally satisfied with the organization, and don't want to give him any reason to consider leaving for richer pastures in 4 years.