Quick note before the post: The website Hotstove.com, 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.