I imagine he and his father think that he will maintain his mechanics and therefore his physical ability. SI did a great article about him a couple of years ago and compared him to Mark Prior and how his trainer thought that Prior would have arm troubles before anything ever showed up.
They then went out to say how the freak’s mechanics allow him to not overstress his body, and stand up to the workload he maintains.
Not saying they are 100% correct, but at least we know where their reasoning is coming from.
Thanks guys. These are fixed now. I have to stop drinking and writing at the same time.
That’s a joke, obviously.
Comment by Chris Cwik — January 26, 2012 @ 9:22 am
29 year old lincecum will have to slip a hell of a lot to get less than John lackey money, with 4 years of inflation. How is he really going to earn less than 30 million over that stretch of three years? If he more or less holds on? He’ll have his only shot at a contract that gives him sabathia money. And it will probably be a pretty good shot.
He walked away from a more guaranteed 30 million for three years, basically to get a shot at a 5-7 year deal in the 120-180 range.
And of course, now he’s got over 60 million in lifetime earnings.
I think this was the right move. Why not take the shot at the record breaking contract and 200 million lifetime earnings.
I believe Timmy’s delivery takes a lot of stress off his arm by using his body and legs to generate torque, so I don’t think injury is as big a risk as some have made it out to be. The potential problem for Timmy is his delivery requires almost a gymnast’s level of flexibility. The key question is can he maintain that flexibility as he gets older?
Also, in 2010, he had trouble keeping his weight up which caused a noticeable lack of stamina. He compensated by overeating a lot of food from In-N-Out. Last year he was starting to look a little bloated by the end of the season. He needs to find a better way to maintain his weight and strength than eating 5 Double-Doubles at a time.
The drop in velocity at age 26 is disconcerting, particularly since Lincecum earns his living by throwing a lot of high fastballs to set up the off-speed stuff down and away. Also disconcerting is the absence of 160-pound starters having long, successful careers in the big leagues during an era where virtually every hitter is a threat to hit a home run.
Ron Guidry had a very similar body type and threw even harder than Lincecum. Guidry also had very good mechanics that reduced the stress on his joints in his pitching arm. Guidry was still a very good pitcher through the age of 34. But unlike Lincecum, Guidry spent several years in the minor leagues, most of it pitching in relief. He wasn’t rushed to the show the way Lincecum and his peers have been rushed. Nonetheless, Guidry stopped being effective at about 2,000 Major League innings. Lincecum is half-way there.
We also know that Lincecum isn’t exactly a fitness freak. His work ethic and lifestyle is akin to David Wells’s. So that’s another strike against him being able to defy the odds and having a long career.
I predict Lincecum will be washed up shortly after he hits 30. But I also predict that he will not suffer from a catastrophic injury in the next two seasons, nor see a huge decline in performance. So some billionaire will throw him Sabathia type money. In the end, Lincecum is making the right decision. It’s the team that gives him the keys to the kingdom when he becomes a free agent who will regret it.
We both know his downside for those three years is way higher than 0. Yes if his arm implodes he’s down 60 million. If he has two league average, injury plagued seasons in the next two years, how could he possibly get less than 30 million over those three years? Wainwright just got 20 million for his next two season, Hiroki Kuroda got 10 million dollars from the yanks, and Mark Burhle got 58 million for 4 years, so again, he turned down 30.
So again, aside from total implosion, even tommy john surgery shouldn’t stop him from making back well over half of that 60 million offer.
There is no doubt that a 29 year old has a way better shot of getting a huge contract than a 32 year old.
I think that Lincecum has played his early career exactlky how he wanted to. He’s going to end up being paid over $64M in his final 4 years before free agency, so he’s set for the long run.
What the OP misses is that Lincecum most likely didn’t turn down the 5 year offer because of the money. This is just my opinion, but I follow the Giants very closely. It’s been obvious to me for a while now that Lincecum is keeping his post-2013 options open while he sees what direction Brian Sabean takes the team in. Sure, he love the security of a long-term deal and the big bucks, but right now he doesn’t want to tie himself to the Giants long-term until he sees how Sabean handles the Matt Cain situation and how he manages to provide the Giants with enough of an offense so that Lincecum doesn’t have to worry if his team will score even just 1 run in each of his starts.
Keep in mind that he’s not really getting $40 million. The tax man will take about half of it, and his agent will probably take about 5-10%, so really he’s left with about $16-$18 million. That’s a lot for sure, but it’s not “buy a small country” lot.
I know you’re going for a laugh, but the David Wells comparison is absurd without any element of humor.
Since being called out about his conditioning in mid-2010, Lincecum has made major changes in his fitness routine. His increase in velocity last year was generally attributed to stepping up his workouts in the offseason and getting serious about conditioning for the first time.
Moreover, the dude is a ridiculous athlete. He can walk on his hands, do a gymnast’s kyp (leap to his feet from a sitting position), do backflips, etc.
I do believe that Lincecum’s general decline in velocity has to do with the natural aging process of having his muscles thicken, reducing his flexibility somewhat and thus cutting down on the torque he can generate with his mechanics. But he’s an extremely unique performer. Other than their height, I’m not sure Guidry’s a very good comparison. I’m unaware of Guidry being anywhere near the kind of athletic marvel that Lincecum is.
Eh…it might seem obvious to you, but I don’t think there’s much supporting this perspective. I, too, follow the Giants extremely closely; and the only real data that have come out on this issue are that Lincecum prefers colder weather (he’s always talking about how much he loves pitching on drizzly Seattle-type days), and that a few columnists have attributed to him a preference for smaller markets (i.e. not New York).
In the final analysis, he’s an outlier in almost every way. You can make the leap from him not wanting to sign a long-term deal to him being iffy about the Giants, and you (the general “you”) can make a similar leap from his stature and workload to him being a greater injury risk; but in either case, given what we actually have observed about Lincecum, you’re just speculating. I could just as easily point out that San Francisco is culturally the perfect environment for a guy like Timmy, and that he is treated as a folk hero wherever he goes, and then extrapolate that to mean that he’ll want to finish his career here. But I won’t, because it’s not obvious to me.
Comment by juan pierres mustache — January 26, 2012 @ 12:32 pm
Writers and fans and bloggers and analysts say “If so-and-so is really serous about winning, they’ll go here because they have a good team/GM/farm system/etc”, because that’s how we think players should think. But reality rarely shakes out like that. Most players’ motivations for signing are still financial, then probably geographical, and then in the spirit of trying to align themselves with a team philosophy or mindset. I can’t remember the last time a notable player eschewed cash or other personal reasons for the sake of hitching himself to a team’s long-term plan. That’s not to say that Lincecum necessarily falls into that category, but if he didn’t he would be more the exception than the norm.
If he turned down 3/60 for 2/40, he’s not betting $60M, he’s betting $20M.
Comment by Well-Beered Englishman — January 26, 2012 @ 1:02 pm
JayT, the tax man will take half of it? Only if Lincecum lives in Holland. I suggest he invest every dime straightaway and pay the Mitt Romney tax on it.
Comment by Well-Beered Englishman — January 26, 2012 @ 1:13 pm
Looking at Fangraph’s data, his walk rate and inability to control his release point seem to drive his on again/off again performance. Add to that an almost total lack of a firstbase pickoff move, and the synergy between the three metrics seem to underlie his percieved decline in 2010-11. Couple that with being paired against the oppositions best arm and a weak Giants offense, the decline seems self explanatory.
Keep in mind that all of that is income, not capitol gains, so the majority of his money will be taxed at 35% federal and 10% state. Throw in SS, and it’s somewhere around half, maybe something more like 40% with deductions.
I believe this is referring to the work Tom Verducci did on the “injury nexus” — basically, he showed that pitchers are much higher injury risks when they throw a lot of innings before their mid-twenties, or when they see a considerable escalation in their workload from one year to the next.
That was a joke? Good grief – that sucked beyond belief.
Comment by Lenny Bruce — January 26, 2012 @ 3:13 pm
Even if things do go belly up the guy will have just earnt $40.5 million dollars in two years. He’ll still get a least a modest contract somewhere and he won’t exactly be crying into his morning frosties. Personally, I hope he keeps it up so that he leaves as a free agent and gets out of the NL West. We’ll be glad to see the back of him!
Didn’t Cliff Lee go back to the Phillies after turning down higher value offers? Might not fit into the long term plan thing (partly because long term for the Phillies is on season of ‘win now’) but I suppose it’s something…
Even if he gets significantly worse, he could still get a contract worth over $60m as a free agent. Let’s look at some comps who got a lot worse for 3 years of time:
Harden (7+8+3): ~$18m (maybe a little more, if 2009 or 2010 had incentives)
Bedard (1.5+4.7+4.5+incentives): ~$11m
I started it after these guys who were worse than Lincecum came off pretty major arm injuries. Bedard missed an entire year out of the three. He still made over $10m in 3 years and might make more than that, I’m not sure how his Pirates incentives work out. Harden made almost $20m in 3. So basically, even in a Tommy-John situation, Lincecum is only risking about $40m.
Meanwhile, he has the potential to land one of those 6-year, $25m annual contracts for the tune of $150m. He’d have a lot more trouble getting that kind of money at 32 than 29. Even with diminished performance, a $100m+ for his later years is pretty likely.
Now Timmy has more than enough dough to go the full Barry Bonds route (no, not the cream and the clear..) and hire his own dedicated strength and conditioning coach. It makes sense – not many pitchers get more out of their core strength and flexibility than Tim, so best to maximize the pilates and yoga while he can, before his tendons and muscle fibers start shortening up. He’s already shown us he can learn new pitches with the same motion – that change up is deadly! Now if he can just keep his fastball velocity and command from shrinking he’ll be a #1 for years to come. Problems will come if he can’t keep his fastball down in the zone consistently throughout the year. He elevates, he gets jacked.
I wonder how flexible he’ll be in the coming years. He doesn’t seem as serious about conditioning as a more traditional workhorse like Verlander or Halladay. I see Lincecum as a Pedro type, with several unbelievably dominant years, but a relatively quick drop in health and velocity and effectiveness. I see Halladay and Verlander being effective deep into their 30s, maybe beyond, like Johnson and Schilling.
It was more money overall Cliff declined, but not more per year, which could be smart on his part given the time value of money and say he someone maintains being awesome from now until his contract is up.
Comment by Antonio Bananas — January 26, 2012 @ 11:47 pm
I don’t buy 29 as prime, maybe the very last year, but I consider a pitcher’s prime 25-29 if anything. By about 24 I generally see them as close to as good as they’ll ever be. It’s why I don’t buy the bullshit people are saying that “The Nats have a young rotation” in the main sports outlets. Gio isn’t “young”.
Comment by Antonio Bananas — January 26, 2012 @ 11:49 pm
We need some kind of equation to measure stress. Innings doesn’t do it, because guys like Maddux could throw 80 pitches in 8 innings. Can’t do number of pitches throw because, let’s say one guy throws 100 pitches in 6 innings, another 100 pitches in 8, one is more stressful than another. Maybe the table laid out in this article is something we should use, looks good to me.
Comment by Antonio Bananas — January 26, 2012 @ 11:53 pm
The Utility of the next $60m probably isn’t as much as the first $40m.
If Tim signs with an East Coast team he is going to miss those Double-Doubles… and Western Bacon Cheeseburgers… trust me. Hardy’s does not fill the void. If I had any idea how scarce all those great California consumables were on the East Coast I would have been gorging on them too before I moved.
It’s interesting to me that we don’t do more odds and EV calculations. This gamble seems like a no-brainer to me, just from my practiced gambler’s estimation, but I have no way of quantifying at all precisely the risks of complete destructive injury, or of the sort of injury that cuts his earning potential to $7-8m. With all the work that’s been done on this, why aren’t there actuarial tables?
do you have any evidence to back up the comparison to David Wells? other than the long hair and pot, i’d say that this is not correct in everything i’ve heard and seen about TL. there are anecdotal pieces of evidence about TL’s athleticism in the NYTimes piece: http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/11/little-big-man/
I would say he’s taking a big risk, especially given the love SFG has for him, but i think it’s more of a ‘you never know’ type of thing rather than TL will fail because of a personal flaw in his work ethic. i guess we’ll see how the stats trend develops in 2012.
Comment by Agent Purple — January 27, 2012 @ 12:27 pm
I couldn’t agree more with that, having moved from California to Cincinnati. Triple Triple Protein Style–mmmm!
I think you’re correct. I remember a recent article in Scientific American that said people in their 90’s are healthier than people in their 80’s, presumably because only the very healthy make it past 90.
Never mind the ERA, just look at the WAR. The trend is clear, though short-term. The trend also fits typical aging patterns.
If I were Lincecum (I wish!), I would have taken the $100M and run. What of actual value, as opposed to gratifying your ego, can you want that costs more than that anyway?
” There’s always a chance he’ll get a better offer on the free-agent market, but considering there are already some warning signs, he’s definitely taking a risk by turning down the Giants’ long-term offer now.”
this is almost certainly NOT true.
he already got more per season for 2 years than the 5/100 offer would have given him.
even if he is “in decline” and only averages 4 WAR for he next 2 seasons he will laugh at 3yr/60mil offers in 2 years, which is the baseline to break even.
hes going to be getting a 100+ mil deal. the only question will be length of contract.
and even in the wost case scenario where he blows out an elbow and misses an entire season hes still a lock to get at least a 3 yr deal worth 60 mil so i dont see the risk involved. by the end of 2013 he will have made over 50mil in his career. hes obv set for life already.
and now he has a chance to become the richest pitcher in the history of baseball. this is a good business decision for him.
Comment by CircleChange11 — January 28, 2012 @ 6:39 pm
I think Lincecum is one of the toughest players to project. Considering his mechanics, delivery, athleticism, workload… There just aren’t that many comparisons, which is similar to the Prince Fielder aging/weight discussions.
In terms dollars some team will cough up the money far exceeding the 3 for 60. Should get CC money easily.
Greg.. sorry, regarding your comment about 160lb pitchers.. my mind immediately went to Pedro Martinez.. but you are correct, according to baseballreference he is listed at 170. He “might” have had a good and long career.
same reason as many kids go pro (in basketball). Injuries (career ending or career diminishing types, especially) can happen any time. Get the money when you can because you might not be worth the money/contract ever again.
The Diamondbacks proved that he’s no Verlander or Halladay. His fastball was so freaking hittable that the few ace pitchers who did struggle at least faced teams that can kill the ball or had good stuff but just couldn’t locate their fastball. He was lucky to only give up 5 runs instead of 8 or 9, and unlike Lester or Sabathia, seemed like the type of pitcher who ISN’T worth more than a one or two year contract. His mistakes went a long way and I don’t think his fastball touched 92 mph honestly.
Wow… last year I thought he looked hittable but seemed to dodge bullets and fool hitters regardless of his velocity but Giants’ fans had better hope it was just one bad outing.
Lincecum actually threw harder than Guidry when he was 22-23… but his fastball hasn’t hit 98 mph in years. The most comparable pitcher to the Freak is Oswalt, but Oswalt was able to hit 94 and 95 on the gun last season while injured and looking done. When he was he was 28 to 30 he was still hitting 96 to 98 when necessary. Or Roy Halladay whose fastball is still often in the 92-94 range.
Lincecum is relying on his awesome change up when that pitch solely relies on having at least an above average fastball(typically an elite one.) He’s gone from a guy who threw his fastball in the mid 90’s usually while using hit almost almost using that pitch 70 percent and slowly gone away from it(now he throws it around 50 percent and he’s not even 28 yet.)
If he had an elite curveball that he’d go to at any count like Verlander, Halladay, or other ace pitchers this wouldn’t be a problem. But someone whose best pitch is his change up, can’t go from a guy who came up as a pitching phenom who hit 99 mph on occasion to someone who’s lucky to hit 94 mph it seems.
In the past two seasons known as the year of the pitcher, while he pitches in a park that isn’t exactly a sandbox, in a weak division, and in the National League… is he even that good or is he more of a Hideo Nomo type who has put up a few more awesome years due to the conditions? His sleight frame, unorthodox windup, velocity issues, and crazy rising WHIP each year when he’s not even 30 should make people ask these questions. And he should never be the highest paid pitcher in the league… I wouldn’t even rank him in the top 10 pitchers now. Verlander, Halladay, Kershaw, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Weaver, Sabathia, a healthy Wainwright, Lester, a motivated Beckett, Fister if he continues pitching like he did last season, Felix Hernandez, Price and a few others over him if you had him pitching for the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, Cardinals would easily be smarter decisions.
I could be wrong but I don’t think he’s going to pitch at an elite level much longer, and won’t win another Cy Young(while maybe not being an all-star at the age of 30 ever again at this rate.)