San Francisco Giants Arbitration 2011 – Tim Lincecum’s Pending Free Agency


So today we start with the easiest of the San Francisco Giant arbitration eligible players, Tim Lincecum. Unlike a handful of other Giant arbitration eligible players, Giant fans needn’t worry when it comes to the return of Tim Lincecum – he’ll be back, it’s just a matter of how long.

We’re all aware of Lincecum’s public desire to remain on a short contract, something that makes way too much sense for both the franchise and Lincecum himself once the emotional tie is removed. Sure, we’d all like to see Timmy’s name beside an X on a seven year deal. It’s comforting – he’s esentially a Giant for life. Relaxing, if you will. But as we’ve seen so many times before, despite the greatness of the pitcher, long term deals can be crippling to a franchise. We don’t have to look very far down the rotation to see that….

But back to Tim. Lincecum himself said he’s very open to buying out his upcoming years of arbitration and the Giants plan to do exactly that, for a couple reasons. First, they’ll get a discount (be it a small one) on his future salaries for the upcoming seasons and secondly, they’ll get him locked up for an additional campaign or two after that. The main question mark we have with Timmy is just how long he’ll actually sign, and in my personal opinion, that wont be decided until the Giants figure out what they’re going to do with Matt Cain who’s a free agent after the upcoming season.

The Giants main priorities going into the offseason are Cain and Lincecum, in that order mind you. The Giants still have time with Tim under arbitration for the next two offseasons, a luxury they don’t share with Cain. In Sabean’s end of the year press conference, he made it pretty clear (without announcing it) that they’re going to attempt to get Lincecum and Cain to expire at the same time (or within a year) on their new deals – now, actually getting that accomplished is one thing but it appears to be the goal.

If one put a gun to my head, my best guess is you’ll see both back on three year deals (maybe an extra year for Cain depending on the circumstances), but worrying about Lincecum heading for his upcoming free agency shouldn’t be a concern even if the Giants and Timmy can’t come to an agreement on a long term deal this offseason – they will next.