SF Giants News

Why Tim Lincecum And Giants Wont Need An Arbitration Hearing

By Bryan Rose

Yesterday evening, Tim Lincecum and the San Francisco Giants both released their requested arbitration numbers, the Giants offering to pay Tiny Tim a hefty $17 million while Lincecum countered with a record shattering $21.5 million. The Giants, who paid Lincecum $14 million last year upped their offer by only the minimum required increase (as far as I can tell), but despite the increase in salary, there was little reason for Tim’s people not to request the record setting salary that they did. Of course, they’re not going to get it – but it certainly didn’t hurt to ask.

Prior to Lincecum, the largest ever requested arbitration figure by a player with less than six years of MLB service time was Derek Jeter in 2001, who actually did win his case but I can’t see that happening again with Lincecum, mostly because I don’t think it will get that far – for a couple of reasons.

Arbitrators are tough cookies – they don’t like to conform and they’re well aware that one decision right now directly impacts the future. So while they’ll certainly play the role of keeping up with the Jones’ to maintain inflation and annual increases, awarding Lincecum with his desired contract would set a precedent down the road for other players, less talented than Timmy who’d be holding their franchises hostage with absurdly large annual salaries which they don’t deserve. It might not happen next year or even the following, but it would eventually rear it’s head.

The mid-point between the requested salaries is just over $19 million, which I’d expect to see Tim sign for given the fact his representatives know going into an actual arbitration case would result in a loss. A two year, $40-42 million dollar contract is what I’d expect to see Lincecum sign, avoiding a sit down with any arbitrators which should make both sides more than happy.