Contract Crowdsourcing 2013-14: Tim Lincecum

Free agency begins five days after the end of the World Series. As in other recent offseasons, FanGraphs is once again facilitating this offseason a contract-crowdsourcing project, the idea being to harness the wisdom of the crowds to the end of better understanding the 2013-14 free-agent market.

Note that, this year, in addition to asking readers to estimate the years/dollars each free agent is likely to receive, FanGraphs is also requesting that readers make note of how much they’d pay each free agent were they, themselves, actual GMs.

In this edition: Tim Lincecum.

Some relevant information regarding Lincecum:

  • Has averaged 200.1 IP and 2.0 WAR over last three seasons.
  • Has averaged 1.8 WAR per 180 IP over last three seasons.
  • Recorded a 1.6 WAR in 197.2 IP in 2013.
  • Is entering his age-30 season.
  • Made $22.0M in 2013, as part of extension signed before 2012 season.

Using the form below, estimate the years and average annual dollar values both likely and ought to be received by Lincecum this offseason.

Other Players: Bronson Arroyo / Carlos Beltran / A.J. Burnett / Marlon Byrd / Robinson Cano / Shin-Soo Choo / Bartolo Colon / Nelson Cruz / David DeJesus / Stephen Drew / Mark Ellis / Jacoby Ellsbury / Scott Feldman / Gavin Floyd / Matt Garza / Curtis Granderson / Roy Halladay / Jason Hammel / Dan Haren / Roberto Hernandez / Tim Hudson / Phil Hughes / Omar Infante / Ubaldo Jimenez / Josh Johnson / Scott Kazmir / Hiroki Kuroda / Adam Lind / James Loney / Brian McCann / Nate McLouth / Kendrys Morales / David Murphy / Mike Napoli / A.J. Pierzynski / Carlos Ruiz / Jarrod Saltalamacchia / Juan Uribe / Chris Young.

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Carson Cistulli occasionally publishes spirited ejaculations at The New Enthusiast.

26 Responses to “Contract Crowdsourcing 2013-14: Tim Lincecum”

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  1. JMo37 says:

    I see Timmy doing better than J. Johnson.
    *If I were a GM I would do 2/3 years at 8 Million. Incentive bonuses for performance and a vesting-extra year at 12 million.

    One thing that Selig should be acknowledged for is revenue. Despite bloated contracts and a sinking U.S. economy baseball is a $14 Billion business.

    In my opinion these guys should be paid as follows:
    Every player receives a base salary based on years of service.
    All salaries are incentive laden; should you perform like M. Cabrera (example) you will get paid like M. Cabrera. Should you be unfortunate enough to be injured or have a poor year, you will make your base salary which is still WAY above the average salary for the U.S and WAY WAY above the average salary of other countries.

    Those of us who are old enough to remember when A-Rod broke in, remember a hell of a player who is credited with redefining a position. He was paid handsomely and produced for many, many years. In 2013 and the next few years, is A-Rod worth 20+ million a year?

    Waiting on my call from Boras

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    • AK7007 says:

      Players won’t go for this. Low revenue teams that maximize WAR/$ won’t go for this. The majority of players will make more money under the current model (except pre-arb players). Superstars would make a helluva lot more. I always thought this exact model would be what I would institute under a socialist baseball utopia. But we don’t have one of those, we have our imperfect, wonderful world.

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      • JMo37 says:

        You are exactly right. No one would go for it.
        But, it would allow productive players to get paid what they contribute and unproductive players to get paid an appropriate sum for not contributing.
        It would cut out the A-Rod / Mike Hampton contracts that flop.
        I assume a league minimum of 490,000 is plenty for a person to live off of.

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        • Nyyfaninlaaland says:

          ‘Course than we’d need performance based ticket prices – or all the benefits of business growth would be back in the owners pockets.

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  2. LaLoosh says:

    there are strong indications he’ll re-sign with SF. If that’s the case I doubt it’ll be a nickel less than 3/45M.

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    • Balthazar says:

      I agree with the outline. Lincecum has value to SF beyond what he throws, and that contract is easily doable for them.

      The only place else I’d see Lincecum going is Seattle. There, too, he’d have a marketing value as a prominent local product beyond his pure results. Seattle gets wrapped up in the marketing thing and is looking to make an offseason splash; Lincecum could very well attract a bid from there. If that’s the case, I see Lincecum as a lock to get a fourth year out of it as the two clubs bid against themselves to buy his ‘marketing value,’ which is in fact non-zero. Seattle supresses HRs, still, even better than the park in SF, tending to mitigate Lincecum’s largest present flaw.

      The thing about Lincecum is it’s hard to know what his results will look like in two years, so assessments of his ‘results value’ may not be that close. Lincecum’s lost velocity, and there’s no real reason to think he’ll get it back. He wasn’t that crafty as a pitcher because his stuff was so plus-plus; he’s only now getting some idea how to _pitch_ as opposed to K. His command has never been that great, although it’s not atrocious. At the same time, Lincecum is still quite young ‘in baseball years.’ He has an out-pitch in his change-up. The rest of his repertoire remains major league, just not plus. The biggest change in approach Lincecum has needed to make is to stop trying to throw his 91 mph fastball in the same spots and counts he used to throw his 96 mph fastball; y’know, to _pitch_.

      Because Lincecum has significantly changed his profile as a pitcher, projections for him have to be viewed as coming with larger standard deviations than for most. Maybe Lincecum’s tools continue to erode, and he’s shelled off the back end even of a four year deal. Then again, a Lincecum who know how to pitch could bounce back with better results than his immediate past. Just this year we’ve sean Iwakuma, Liriano, Kazmir, and Ubaldo Jimenez adjust to major velocity declines to nonetheless use learned pitchability and in some cases a plus off speed offering to give value easily in the $15/year range—or better. Lincecum could well turn out to be the best free agent pitcher on the market this season over the life of his next contract. It isn’t crazy to bid on four years, and quite rational to go for three. To me, I’d try to go three, plus two option years, maybe with the fifth vesting at a reachable prior innings-pitched total to sweeten it. I could see either SF or Seattle popping that kind of question. If anybody makes an offer, even at ‘crazy money’ kind, I’m doubtful Timmy Linny inks it. He’s a Left Coast, good ole buzz time kinda guy.

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  3. BurleighGrimes says:

    Considering the deal Jeremy Guthrie got last year, I’d be honestly surprised if Timmy signed for any less than 3/45mil.

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  4. cs3 says:

    If Timmy resigns in SF the WAR values will completely go out the window.
    He has, and will continue to make, a ton of money for the club.
    I can easily see him getting 15-16mil per year for 2 or 3 years.
    If he leaves for a longer term deal I doubt he will get anywhere near the annual salary.

    But Lincecum has shown a willingness to take shorter deals in the past so who knows?

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  5. Johnny says:

    I think he gets 2 years, 25 million. No more than that.

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  6. GilaMonster says:

    2 years/$20m.

    Honest if he has a home run problem in San Francisco, nobody can save him. I might accept a QO in I was Lincecum. Try to get that home run problem, fixed and you’ll get paid.

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  7. Spa City says:

    Giants tend to bid against themselves and throw money away, but it has worked out pretty well for them recently. My guess is the Giants will perceive that Lincecum’s advertising value makes him worth more to them than his on-field performance would normally justify. So I predict Giants will offer him 4 years/$60M. But for his Cy Young history, he would be in line for a 3 years/$36M. He is still an effective pitcher who generates a lot of strikeouts, so he will not need to take a one-year, incentive-heavy “pillow” deal.

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  8. LONNIE says:

    I wouldn’t offer him enuff to get him to sign. 3/33 for me..but he will get paid more than that.

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  9. KCDaveInLA says:

    Going the Edwin Jackson route may not be a bad idea for Timmy…and maybe lay off the hippie lettuce, too?

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    • CK says:

      Haha, there is absolutely no evidence that cannabis has affected Timmy’s performance negatively. If anything, once he started eating more healthily and lost a bit of weight, it actually (may have) really thrown off his wind-up, resulting in his difficulties starting in the 2011 season. If anything, he needs to go back to smoking the amount of cannabis he was smoking back in 2008 and 2009.

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  10. Bip says:

    It’s interesting how everyone in the comments has guessed at least $10 million a year, and some proposed contracts close to $50 million. DIPs theory doesn’t prescribe throwing away ERA, and his ERA- of 132 since 2012 (better than only Edinson Volquez) cannot be ignored, nor will it be ignored by major league teams.

    However, that doesn’t make everyone wrong. Lincecum probably will get a contract that is more fitting for a slightly-below-average major league starter, even though a player with only Lincecum’s 2012-2013 would be unlikely to find a job on a big-league (read: non-Astros) team.

    I think the reason is his age. As long as he is 29, which should be his prime, teams will still consider 2008-2009 to be his ceiling. If we shifted those years, such that 2008-2009 were he age 32-33 seasons, making him 37 now, but keeping his stats exactly the same, then no one would take the same chance on him that people are expecting. They would assume his decline is age related and that he’s cooked.

    No one is going to pay for his 2012-2013 performance, they are paying for his perceived ceiling. But what is his ceiling and what are the chances he reaches it. I think we can be nearly 100% sure he will never be 2008-2009 Lincecum again. Can he be 2010-2011 Lincecum though? And what are the chances of that, if there is a chance? 2010-2011 Lincecum is worth paying well for, but how much is the outside chance of that worth?

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    • AK7007 says:

      This, 100X this. I only see SF and Seattle as legit contenders for his services. Both clubs will overpay, for different reasons. But both will be paying for that perceived ceiling. I do think clubs value him higher than WAR does for whatever reason, and the ceiling is a primary reason, but there could be others. That might be the SF fan love = cash money. That might be something like pitcher inconsistency:
      3/45 seems spot on in the real world for what will happen.
      2/13 seems like a safe bet between the ceiling and floor of his talent in a fantasy world.

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  11. JayT says:

    I don’t think he signs anywhere for more than two years. I think he would hope to regain even more value by having a better year.

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  12. Green Mountain Boy says:

    I’ve always enjoyed watching Tim Lincecum pitch. All those “experts” saying his mechanics were awful, when in reality, his mechanics were Old School. Check out Lincecum’s delivery side by side with Koufax’s. Both of them almost scrape the ball on the ground as they rear back. Awesome!

    That said, something happened to Tim in about June of 2010. Elbow or shoulder-related I’m sure, but I never heard word one about it. He went from a 97-98 MPH fastball down to 90-92. Why? Who knows, but the data doesn’t lie. It happened. So what did Tim do? He began to rely on his changeup as his out pitch, and it’s a damn good one. Re-invented himself. His K/9 went down a bit, but has stayed over 9… excellent in anyone’s book. The problem though is that his now average fastball is eminently hittable, thus his poor ERA and W-L the past few seasons.

    So what do we have with Lincecum in 2014? Essentially, we have Frank Tanana, a fireballer who lost his heat but hung on due to guile and knowing how to pitch. Or maybe Dennis Eckersley, who was converted from a starter to a closer.

    Which leaves GMs with a very interesting choice… Lincecum will probably be overpaid (those who follow my posts know my disdain for the majority of GMs), but how does a team get the maximum productivity out of him. If it were me, I’d convert him into a closer. Seriously, what would you rather have, a 34 year old Frank Tanana or a 34 lear old Dennis Eckersley? If the conversion to closer is successful, you’ll get your money’s worth. If you pay him to start for you? You just wasted $15M on a slightly better version of Barry Zito.

    I’m very curious to see how this one plays out.

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    • Sivart says:

      I hate the idea of making him a 1 inning pitcher, but a progressive manager might make him a 2-3 inning shut down man. As a former starter I don’t think you have to limit him to one inning. And there is the definite possibility that his stuff plays up coming out of the pen in shorter stints where he can rear back and let it fly rather than conserving.

      My prediction was he gets 4/$60, and personally I’d give him 3/$45, not that I necessarily think he will be worth that, but he could be a 3 WAR pitcher a year which would likely make it an okay deal.

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    • Balthazar says:

      I think Timmy’s way too young to settle for, or be shifted too, a closer. Look at Lincecum’s innings pitched. Arm issue or not, he’s been a durable horse . . . well Tatar pony, looking at his size. That’s functional even as a back end starter, and multiple guys serving as such _were_ worse in 2013. (Aaron Harang for one.) And again, the issue is: will, can, or has Lincecum learned how to pitch effectively with a 90-91 mph fastball? If he does, he remains a more than viable starter. Personally, I look for Lincecum to pitch another 4+ years as a starter, and only _then_ to convert to a reliever for a few more years. That’s on the assumption that if he has had significant arm trouble, he’s likely ticketed for somemore down the road which will only at that point erode his durability. But it hasn’t so far, so he’s wasted as a 60 inning guy.

      And Frank Tananna. Wow was the young Tanana good. Like Francisco Liriano good. But Tanana didn’t have plus offspeed stuff to fall back on after he got hurt wherease Liriano did and does. Would you have wanted to convert Francisco Liriano to a high leverage reliever in 2012 given what we now see of his 2013? That looks like a major undersell of his upside, to me. And the same with Lincecum.

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  13. Maples says:

    If someone wants to pay to see if he can regain the ceiling why not overpay for a one year say at $20m. It limits the overall risk and allows Timmy to prove he can be that pitcher again. That said, I agree we everyone that 3/45 is the most likely scenario.

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    • Bip says:

      If you’re paying 20 million, then his expected WAR should be about 4. (Note that is calculated by a weighted distribution, e.g. 50% chance of 6 WAR and 50% chance of 2 WAR equals 4 expected WAR). I see 4 WAR as his ceiling, and last 2 years as his floor, and right now the floor looks more likely, putting his expected WAR well below 4.

      Even with winner’s curse and a name recognition bonus, I can’t see him getting close to 20 million.

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  14. Antonio Bananas says:

    I make him a starter at first but once he shits the bed, move him to the pen as a 2 inning closer.

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  15. Bip says:

    I’m making a low guess of 2/24. People guessing 4 years seem the furthest off to me. I think some teams might overpay in AAV due to that ceiling, but I can’t see any team risking getting stuck with his recent performance for more than 3 years.

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  16. The relievers who replaced Lincecum allowed around twice the league average runners to score. With a league average strand rate Lincecum’s era could’ve been nearly a run lower. His other stats support this. I’m thinking 3 yrs 42m with vesting option.

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  17. Hurtlockertwo says:

    Two years, $32 million and I hope it is with the Giants.

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