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  1. Seaver didn’t win a Cy Young in his first 5 seasons? I beg to differ.

    Comment by Rob Moore — January 18, 2012 @ 10:41 am

  2. Intended to say Seaver didn’t win two Cy Youngs in his first five years. And now fixed. Thanks.

    Comment by Wendy Thurm — January 18, 2012 @ 10:51 am

  3. Suggesting that a similar one-year salary is being compensated at the level of guys on 5-7 year deals is misleading. I feel as though those 3 guys, if they were FA, could sign 1 year deals worth at least close to 30 million.

    Comment by TK — January 18, 2012 @ 10:52 am

  4. No..Seaver didn’t win TWO Cy Young’s in his first five years. Lincecum did in ’08 and ’09.

    Comment by Jared — January 18, 2012 @ 10:53 am

  5. But it’s not based on what they would get if they were FA’s because Timmy is not a FA. It’s based on what other players have gotten in similar situations. In this case the situation is Timmy is 2 years away from FA.

    Comment by DrBGiantsfan — January 18, 2012 @ 11:00 am

  6. That is an excellent analysis and I completely agree. My prediction is they will replay 2010 and settle on a 2 year contract for $39.5 M, $17 M in 2012 and $21.5 M in 2013 plus maybe a couple M bonus like then(I had forgotten about the bonus money in 2010).

    Comment by DrBGiantsfan — January 18, 2012 @ 11:02 am

  7. Timmy, with him Nomo-esque delivery, has to be a little scary from a managmenet perspective. From all reports, he keeps himself in great shape, but a loss of flexibility that comes with age could be devastating to his results.

    I agree that the Giants will probably settle on a two year deal and let things play out from there. If he pitches two more seasons at a 2011 level, I’m sure he’ll get PAID, but I’m not sure it’ll be by the Giants.

    Comment by ToddM — January 18, 2012 @ 11:59 am

  8. Not snark: can we really speak of a “median” in a two-value set?

    Comment by CPW — January 18, 2012 @ 12:04 pm

  9. All I know is missing his first All-Star Game due to “flu-like symptoms” (AKA a bad hangover) doesn’t seem to have affected his value.

    Comment by TheGrandslamwich — January 18, 2012 @ 12:11 pm

  10. He’s worth that much on the open market, but he still has limited service time. They’ll probably only go just a bit north of $17 million.

    Comment by Dekker — January 18, 2012 @ 12:14 pm

  11. Yes. It is a bit confusing and I also thought perhaps the author was conflating median and average, but this is technically correct.

    Comment by TK — January 18, 2012 @ 12:40 pm

  12. That’s fine, but my point still stands. 1/21.5 =/= 5-7 years averaging 21.5. I’d also say there is room for debating whether guys should be paid less than their projected yearly value in arbitration.

    Comment by TK — January 18, 2012 @ 12:46 pm

  13. Lincecum was worth almost 8 WAR per year in his 2 Cy Young seasons and a little bit below 5 the last 2 seasons. 4 WAR or slightly better this year is likely, making the Giant’s arb number almost exactly right.
    Therefore, the Giants should win the arbitration unless the arbitrator gets dazzled by those 2 Cy Youngs.

    Comment by Baltar — January 18, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

  14. LIncecum had a lower ERA than either Hamels or Cain this season. Hernandez had a 3.47 ERA this year. As for Sabathia- Lincecum has a lower ERA- only by one point but

    i think Lincecum would win in arb. he has too many awards including post season play, sold out attendance.

    I think Lincecum wins in arb.

    Comment by cal — January 18, 2012 @ 1:29 pm

  15. The median of two values is the mean. But the term is kind of meaningless at that point, pardon the pun.

    Comment by Cass — January 18, 2012 @ 1:31 pm

  16. No way I take a cent less from Sabes than the 5th starter is getting. The Hamels deal is a McGuffin – the elephant in the room is $18/18.5 mil for #75. He’s only got one Cy Young. At this point I’d rather swallow Zito’s deal, work out an annuity and deal him out before I have to try to do long term deals with multiple members of my seriously good pitching rotation.

    Comment by jbwiii — January 18, 2012 @ 1:37 pm

  17. besides we all know this isnt going to arb and Lincecum will make more than 17 million this year. my guess is 19. this is what zito is getting.

    Comment by cal — January 18, 2012 @ 1:37 pm

  18. lol- that is just what i was writing. that zito is the elephant in the room!

    Comment by cal — January 18, 2012 @ 1:39 pm

  19. Hank Schulman also reported on his blog that there have been no substantive talks between Lincecum’s agent and Bobby Evans (who negotiates all contracts for the Giants) for the past month on an extended contract. According to sources, Lincecum’s agent wanted to lay the groundwork on an 8 year deal and the Giants are unwilling to agree on any deal of that length. The most likely outcome is probably a 2 year deal if a deal of any kind is made before the arb deadline.

    Comment by fergie348 — January 18, 2012 @ 2:12 pm

  20. Zito has absolutely nothing to do with Lincecum. Arbitration awards are based on performance by the player and relative to those with similar service time. Lincecum can argue that he’s entitled to be compared to Halladay, Lee and Sabathia in terms of money, b/c he, like they, is a Cy Young winner. No one on either side is going to bring up — much less rely — on Zito’s contract.

    Comment by Wendy Thurm — January 18, 2012 @ 2:18 pm

  21. Zito is a cy young winner. and he is a giant
    and if you think lincecum is going to forget that the Giants are paying the awful Zito a ton of money and offering him crumbs you have another thing coming.
    The Giants know that. Do you really think they want to offend their ace and the face of their franchise that much?

    Comment by cal — January 18, 2012 @ 2:26 pm

  22. In any case, the $21.5m is the median of the THREE salaries he is referencing (Halladay, CC, and Lee). So it’s a lot clearer if he just writes “The median of those three figures? $21.5 million.”

    Comment by Matt — January 18, 2012 @ 2:58 pm

  23. It’s not two values, it’s three: Sabathia makes $23 mil, Cliff Lee makes $21.5 mil, and Halladay makes $20 mil. The median of this set would therefore be Cliff Lee’s $21.5 mil – which is also, presumably not coincidentally, Lincecum’s desired salary.

    Comment by DLoth — January 18, 2012 @ 3:00 pm

  24. Wendy is a man?

    Comment by TK — January 18, 2012 @ 3:05 pm

  25. I think you mean “she” but point taken.

    Comment by Wendy Thurm — January 18, 2012 @ 3:31 pm

  26. @Cal, are you serious? So, you think referencing what is widely considered to be the one of the worst contracts in sports history is a good negotiation tool? I would say it’s you that have another thing coming.

    Comment by Willie M — January 18, 2012 @ 3:45 pm

  27. I’m a Giants fan so I want Tim to sign long term, he is great for the team. Throwing around million dollar salary numbers like it’s everyone’s pocket change still makes me sad. Offering a player $20 million, more than 99% of the population will make in a lifetime, doesn’t even buy you loyalty, it’s just a rental until the next negotiation. It’s a business, I get it, but to have the same players
    on a team so you can build around them would build fan loyalty too.

    Comment by Hurtlockertwo — January 18, 2012 @ 3:52 pm

  28. johan santa strikes again!

    Comment by johan santa — January 18, 2012 @ 3:55 pm

  29. you really think arbitrators know what WAR is?

    Comment by jim — January 18, 2012 @ 3:56 pm

  30. Lincecum’s mechanics are nowhere near Nomo.

    TL55′s stride length (120% of height) is extreme as is his shoulder-hip separation (late shoulder rotation, his belt buckle is facing home, his shoulder is facing somewhere in between 3B and LF)).

    It’s literally amazing.

    I don’t think he’s any more of an injury risk than the average pitcher.

    As a full time player he’s put up 200+ IP seasons 4 years in a row. Any drop in velocity and/or decrease in strikeout rate simply follows the normal aging curve of pitchers. Randy Johnson aka The Big Outlier.

    Lincecum will turn 28 in June. I wouldn’t start worrying about flexibility reductions until he’s in his 30s, and probably mid 30s at that.

    IMHO, the only comparable in mechanics he has is Sandy Koufax.

    Stride Length



    Hip-Shoulder Rotation (This is literally amazing)



    One might jump to the conclusion that due to similarities in mechanics and size that Timmy is due for a major flameout, but Koufax’s issues were in regards to usage.

    Over a 4-year span Koufax threw 1,192 IP; Lincecum has thrown 881.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — January 18, 2012 @ 4:25 pm

  31. I meant “should” more in a moral sense than in a predictive sense. However, I also predict that the arbitrator will go with the Giants number. Old-fashinoned wins-and-losses also work against Timmy.
    A settlement at about $19M before the hearing may be even more likely.

    Comment by Baltar — January 18, 2012 @ 4:41 pm

  32. Who do they chose for arbitrators? They’re supposed to be experts in the field. If they don’t know what “WAR” is, I question their expertise. It’d be like if an arbitrator were settling for the value of a damaged car and said “yea, your porsche also has 4 wheels like this 87 lincoln towncar, so the value is also 1,000 dollars”.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — January 18, 2012 @ 4:51 pm

  33. 99% of the population doesn’t generate that much money in a year either. I get so sick of the bullshit “wah wah players get paid so much” argument. If you work somewhere, and you generate “X”, you should get paid close to “X”. Their “X” is just really high. Not only that, but if say 300M goes into an organization, it MUST go somewhere else. So, it can either go to the owners, who are either companies or billionaire lucky sperm club members; it can go to beer men, or it can go to the people who actually generate the revenue. When I buy an Atlanta Braves hat, I want that money to go to fixing Jason Heyward’s swing, not to Liberty Media. You want to talk about “loyalty”, well what about ownership loyalty? If I work for someone at a HUUUUGE discount, then ask for a raise, I should get it right? Don’t let the numbers cloud your logic.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — January 18, 2012 @ 4:56 pm

  34. Also, don’t say “the 300M can go to charity”, I forget the year, but Fruit of the Loom made more money than all 30 MLB teams combined; so should all companies donate a bunch of money to charity? Also, if people really think it’s ridiculous, stop watching the games, stop going to the websites, stop buying tickets, and stop buying merchandise. That’s the reason Lincecum is in the right asking for 20M, or at least it’s reasonable. If 40,000 people showed up at schools 162 times a year to watch a teacher teach, and bought shirts with the names of their favorite teachers, they’d be millionaires too. Instead our school system sucks and most of our teachers are lazy.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — January 18, 2012 @ 4:59 pm

  35. I get the business logic perfectly, I’m just a fan that’s sick of the parade of players my favorite team employs every year. I really don’t care they make lot’s of money, they have special talent so it’s all good, but everything is so mercenary in baseball that “team” really doesn’t mean much anymore.

    Comment by Hurtlockertwo — January 18, 2012 @ 5:36 pm

  36. Hi Wendy – liked the podcast you did. Just moved back east after 4 years on the Presidio while my spouse went to Hastings. Loved taking afternoons off from work @ 101 Cal, getting on the train & watching day baseball with an incredible vista.

    Strictly speaking, in terms of salary arbitration and attaining whatever short term goals Sabian has for the Giants, Zito would not be a germane topic for a full arbitration process.

    As I’m sure you are aware from your career experience, going through a full and thorough arbitration process is less often the path taken. Often too much face or risk is in play to enter an antagonistic transaction.
    More common is, I believe, arb prep & filing followed by settlement prior to formal arb sessions either via extension (Timmy in 2010) or superannuation of arbitration eligibility by proffering a contract that would sunset any future arb (especially super 2) status (Braun, Howard, G. Gonzalez). I’m sure we could do the math but glancing at the papers 142 cases were filed this year and 50-60 are predicted for a 3rd party arbitration process.

    In either of these far more likely paths I contend that the salary of Barry Zito is entirely germane as settlement discussions will involve various aspects of the Giants as a business entity and not just a statistical model of market price like we were bidding on 90 day winter wheat contracts.

    Sabian and Tim aren’t negotiating this year’s deal, they’re negotiating how long Tim will wear black and orange and the terms of that relationship.

    So, yeah, Zito is the elephant in the room because Sabes often overpays where everyone else is screaming REGRESSION and sometimes cuts bait when players still offer value. He has to negotiate in the shadow of Huff and Zito while keeping a rotation around long enough for Belt & Brown to make an impact and Posey to become what he’s very likely to (dominant).

    I didn’t say the guy has an easy job. I’m saying that he makes it harder for himself. (cough*Benitez*cough).

    Thank god for Boch.

    Comment by jbwiii — January 18, 2012 @ 6:49 pm

  37. He really is the best

    Comment by Dreamin — January 18, 2012 @ 7:21 pm

  38. I think your right, Lincecum’s agent said this PM, he wouldn’t be selling any FA years across an arbitration driven contract.

    Comment by channelclemente — January 18, 2012 @ 7:51 pm

  39. I would add J.R. Richards to Koufax, after you normalize for height. Good info with Koufax.

    Comment by channelclemente — January 18, 2012 @ 7:54 pm

  40. Giants should let Timmy walk.
    SF is hurting Timmy big time, he needs to get out of this team ASAP.

    Anthony Witrado just wrote a piece today called “Giants in danger of wasting best years of Lincecum’s career” and he is damn right.

    Timmy had the worst run support in the whole MLB last year. Dont you think that affects him?, of course, the guy is frustrated. And to think next year is going to be the same, he must be thrilled to sign with the Giants…No wonder he rejected that 4 year offer.

    The Giants are dragging him down, they don’t give run support, they want to pay him less that Zito, they want to “waste” his talent in a mediocre offense team.

    It is no good for baseball, he is such a joy to watch.

    Comment by SHB — January 18, 2012 @ 8:37 pm

  41. “so should all companies donate a bunch of money to charity?”


    But I’m a liberal democratic socialist. You’re obviously a conservative republican capitalist. : )

    Comment by Brian — January 18, 2012 @ 8:52 pm

  42. He should come to the Mets for league min.

    Comment by Brian — January 18, 2012 @ 8:53 pm

  43. I am also curious to learn more about the arbitrators

    Comment by Paul Wilson — January 18, 2012 @ 9:19 pm

  44. Or the Yankee’s then he’ll win 25 games.

    Comment by WillieMaysField — January 18, 2012 @ 9:45 pm

  45. At the beginning of the off season I thought the Giants should have traded Timmy to the Yanks for Gardner, Hughes, and a one of their top 3 prospects. Then use the money saved to sign Reyes.

    Comment by WillieMaysField — January 18, 2012 @ 9:49 pm

  46. Antonio, I usually hear this ‘athletes make ridiculously too much money’ from my non-sportsfan friends. I usually bring up how much well-paid actors are paid and how much they make and remind people that athletes are entertainers too, and that usually shuts em up.

    Comment by bstar — January 18, 2012 @ 10:50 pm

  47. JR Richard and Nolan Ryan only got to play one season together (1980).

    Alan Ashby and Luis Pujols shared catching duties. I had to look that up because I wondered what poor soul had to catch JR and Nolan for 600 innings. (It’s not as cool as it sounds, they only combined for 350 IP that year.)

    Comment by CircleChange11 — January 18, 2012 @ 10:52 pm

  48. Actually I’m not a republican at all, I hate Romney’s idea to cut everything but military, I think it’ll increase the gap between classes. I just think that if the money has to go somewhere, and it does, it should go to the players. I agree that ALL companies should donate a lot of money to charities, but so should the people bitching that players are getting paid too much. Instead of spending 200 dollars a year and say 50 hours a year watching baseball, go volunteer if you don’t like the salaries.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — January 19, 2012 @ 4:20 am

  49. Also, if you think of MLB players as the workers, the average pay of the top players doesn’t dwarf the pay of the everyday players like the executive pay in this country dwarfs that of their average worker. If the league average pay is say, 1 million dollars, to be an equivalent of our corporate world, Pujols or whoever you think is the top, would have to make 200 million a year…..a year.

    Brian, please don’t think I’m a republican, call me a satanist (which is sort of like a libertarian since they derive their philosophy from Ayn Rand, same as Anton Lavey did), call me anything but a fuckin republican. I want our education to be better and I don’t think our military needs more money to buy 500 dollar hammers, give their female officers breast enhancement, or to give hundred million dollar helicopters to the Mexicans. I simply think that if the money is going to go to 1 of 3 places, like I said, the owners, the beer men, or the players, I want it to go to the players. Guys like Pujols give a lot of their money to charity also.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — January 19, 2012 @ 4:23 am

  50. So basically, trade a fairly sure thing, for a guy who had a “4 win season” based on 3 dWAr, a question mark pitcher, and a question mark pitching prospect (they all are). Then sign a question mark shortstop who is likely past his prime and will also likely not put together consecutive healthy seasons. What a great idea.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — January 19, 2012 @ 4:28 am

  51. Koufax’ problem was arthritis, not usage. He didn’t have “standard” elbow or shoulder problems.

    Comment by Davor — January 19, 2012 @ 6:50 am

  52. Actually, that trade isn’t so bad. Ignoring injuries, Tim is 5 WAR pitcher with upside, under team control for 2 years at $40M and with very little chance for long-term contract. Gardner is 3 WAR CF (minimum) with 5 WAR upside, under control for 3 years at less than $15M. Hughes can be between good setup-man and average pitcher, with significant upside because of SF park and coach. He is under team control for 2 more years at $7-10M, depending on success. Yankee top pitching prospects have floor as setup-men, and reasonable upside as no.3 pitchers, so anywhere from 0.7 to 3 WAR for 6 controlled years.
    Gardner and Hughes have reasonable chance of matching Tim’s value in the next two years for around $10M less annually. While Hughes is greater health risk, Gardner has the lowest risk of the three. And Gardner has one one more year of control. And top pitching prospect is extra profit.
    This trade would depend on the player Gardner kicks out of the team and on what SF would do with $10M. But there is great chance that the trade would give SF stronger team.

    Comment by Davor — January 19, 2012 @ 8:32 am

  53. haha, ok Antonio, I guess you aren’t a Republican. : ) That sentence about the charities was just misleading to me, that’s all.

    At any rate, I’m all for the players being paid high salaries, as you are right, they are the assets that are generating the income, and fuck the owners. That said, like all rich people, they should be taxed at very high rates and that money should be used for social services that help the poor and middle class. ; )

    Comment by Brian — January 19, 2012 @ 9:12 am

  54. @ Davor

    Just in case others are thinking that I am suggesting that the LAD used Koufax to the point of ruining his arm, I’ve included more information. Like many ultra-competitive superstars, Sandy is his own worst enemy … or from another perspective, is so confident in his ability and desire that he thinks he can overcome anything.

    This REALLY should be a movie.

    From wikipedia …

    - On April 22, however, he felt something “let go” in his arm. Koufax ended up getting three cortisone shots for his sore elbow, and missed three starts.

    - Koufax jammed his pitching arm in August while diving back to second base to beat a pick-off throw. He managed to pitch and win two more games. However, the morning after his 19th win (August), a shutout in which he struck out 13 batters, he could not straighten his arm. He was diagnosed by Dodgers’ team physician Robert Kerlan with traumatic arthritis.

    On March 31, the morning after pitching a complete spring training game, Koufax awoke to find that his entire left arm was black and blue from hemorrhaging. Koufax returned to Los Angeles to consult with Kerlan, who advised Koufax that he would be lucky to be able to pitch once a week. Kerlan also told Koufax that he would eventually lose full use of his arm. Koufax agreed not to throw at all between games—a resolution that lasted only one start.

    To get himself through the games he pitched in, Koufax resorted to Empirin with codeine for the pain, which he took every night and sometimes during the fifth inning. He also took Butazolidin for inflammation, applied capsaicin-based Capsolin ointment (called “atomic balm” by baseball players) before each game, and soaked his arm in a tub of ice afterwards.

    - 335.1 IP in 1965

    - In April 1966, Kerlan told Koufax it was time to retire, that his arm could not take another season. Koufax kept Kerlan’s advice to himself and went out every fourth day to pitch. He ended up pitching 323 innings and had a 27–9 record with a 1.73 ERA.


    Comment by CircleChange11 — January 19, 2012 @ 10:55 am

  55. Isn’t it true that a player in his last arbitration year typically makes about 80% of what a similar free agent is worth? Lincecum IS worth $21.5 million and 80% of that is $17.2 million (just above the team offer).

    Comment by Tom Au — January 19, 2012 @ 12:29 pm

  56. Gardner is 28, so statistically, on the decline. 3 WAR last year came from defense, which could have been a fluke and/or statistical flaw. Not only that but the general assumption is that defense and speed fades before power. Gardner doesn’t hit for power. I don’t see Gardner as having A)any upside or B) being a 3 WAR for very much longer. I think Gardner is as good as he’ll ever be or has already had his best year. Hughes is also about as good as he’ll ever be going into his age 26 season, there is still some chance he gets better. You can’t really say his production will go up all that much because of league/park because most stats are adjusted for those. The production measured by most stats in Yankee stadium are supposed to negate whatever noise may be caused by those outside variables. If he’s a 0-2 WAR pitcher in yankee stadium, he should be a 0-2 WAR pitcher anywhere in the Majors. You are wrong about the Yankee prospects floors, their floors are disasters that never pan out. You’re forgetting that something like 70% of top 100 pitching prospects end up classified as “Bust”. I wish I could find the article, but I can’t. Not only all that, but the Giants have pitching depth, so a huge question mark and a mediocre pitcher doesn’t do them any good. Gardner probably would, but not likely enough to give up Lincecum.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — January 20, 2012 @ 5:11 am

  57. Good point. I wonder if the arbitrator(s?) know this and will give Lincecum a similar analysis.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — January 20, 2012 @ 5:14 am

  58. Gardner has been worth 6 and 5 WAR in the last two seasons per fangraphs. Discounting the defense, 3 WAR for the next three years is reasonable, even on the low side. CF in 150+ games is worth 20 RAR over replacement and 2.5 RAR in position. Gardner has slightly positive bat, so add 4 RAR. Add 3 RAR baserunning, and it’s 3 WAR player before even touching defense. Even with decline (and players should stay roughly the same between ages 28-30), he should be above 3 WAR as CF in every one of the next three seasons.
    Hughes is messed up pitcher. Maybe he is as good as he can be, but maybe he can be resurrected into solid 2-3 starter. He has good fastball, and at times has good curveball and cutter. If SF pitching coach and SF stadium can help him, he can easily be 2 WAR pitcher.
    As for pitching prospects, they mostly fail, but top pitching prospects who are in AAA and still top pitching prospects usually have floor as very good relievers or back of the rotation starters. That is 1 WAR/year, instead of 4-5 as upside, but they can contribute. Depending on the situation, most teams have either relievers or back of the rotation that pitch to a negative WAR. so, close to the MLB prospects are useful even if they don’t develop as planned.
    This trade is would not be great for SF, but depending on the composition of the team, it could actually strengthen the team (don’t forget $10M/y in savings, which can plug a hole with 2 WAR player).
    I understand that you may want someone whose value is more in his bat than in his fielding, or surer pitcher in return, but this trade would not be bad, and, depending on the roster, might even be good for SF.

    Comment by Davor — January 20, 2012 @ 9:22 am

  59. To add, if SF has plenty pitching depth, so that they can fill back end of rotation and bullpen with positive performers, and not rubbish, like the most of the league, then Hughes + pitching prospect mean nothing to them. I don’t know their minor league roster. The trade, of course, depends on SF needs. If they have 2+WAR players in whole outfield, then even Gardner is not very useful.
    As for Hughes, someone who gives up lots of HRs, specially to lefties, can increase value when moved away form Yankee Stadium. Advanced metrics don’t normalize for every component separately, so players who disproportionately benefit/are hurt by specific component have different values in different stadiums.

    Comment by Davor — January 20, 2012 @ 9:33 am

  60. It does’nt really matter when it’s all said and done, does it? Timmy is still the ” man with the plan” and no one can touch him!!!! He’s the best!! I love you always, Tim. God Bless!!

    Comment by Jana Jarelle — February 28, 2012 @ 1:43 pm

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