Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Giants Spend Crazy Cash On Lincecum

Backed into a corner with no one to replace the franchise's face, the San Francisco Giants re-signed Tim Lincecum to another two-year deal, this one only $5M less than the last two-year deal they had back when they thought Lincecum was kinda good:

SAN FRANCISCO -- Tim Lincecum is staying put with the San Francisco Giants just as he hoped, reaching agreement Tuesday on a $35 million, two-year contract through the 2015 season.

The deal is pending a physical, which had yet to be scheduled. Lincecum has a full no-trade clause in the new deal.

General manager Brian Sabean said when the season ended that among his top priorities was bringing back the two-time NL Cy Young Award winner, who also indicated he cherishes familiarity and wanted stay with the only club he has known. He pitched the Game 5 clincher in the 2010 World Series at Texas, then shifted to the bullpen and became a reliable reliever during the Giants' 2012 run to their second title in three years. He pitched a no-hitter July 13 at San Diego.

Sabean wanted to lock up Lincecum's deal before he hit the open market in free agency.

The 29-year-old Lincecum just completed a $40.5 million, two-year contract that paid him $22 million this past season.

So how is this going down with the pundits? Here's's Dan Szymborski, panning the deal:

The San Francisco Giants announced a scientific breakthrough this afternoon, demonstrating the ability to travel forward in time and return to the present, thus fulfilling the dreams of H.G. Wells. Or at least, I think they did, given that this afternoon they re-signed former ace Tim Lincecum to a two-year, $35 million contract, a transaction that only makes sense if black-and-orange clad physicists crunched some equations and managed to bring back tales of a future in which The Freak returned to prime form.

Lincecum has been a nearly unmitigated disaster for the past two years, going 20-29 with a 4.76 ERA in 383 2/3 innings. A 4.76 ERA in pitcher-friendly AT&T Park in 2013 isn't like a 4.76 ERA in Yankee Stadium in 2001, and when you adjust for context, Lincecum's ERA+ numbers in 2012 and 2013 are 68 and 76, respectively.

How bad are those numbers? Lincecum was 88th of 88 MLB qualifiers in 2012 before improving to 77th of 81 in 2013. Baseball Reference's WAR (wins above replacement) has him as minus-2.3 over the past two years and the FanGraphs version of WAR, which uses FIP as a basis for pitcher WAR, putting Lincecum in the best possible light, has him at a combined 2.5 WAR across 2012 and 2013. [...]

Between Lincecum's new deal and the Hunter Pence contract announced a few weeks ago, the Giants have already committed $125 million in guaranteed future salary without actually making any improvements on a 76-86 team that finished two games out of last place. Unless the team shows a bit more creativity this offseason, there's a real danger that the Giants catch up to the Dodgers in payroll long before they catch up in wins.

Wow, that's pretty harsh. How about Grant Bisbee over at McCovey Chronicles...who hates the deal as well:

At the risk of being a contrarian, allow me to suggest the Giants just committed an awful lot of money to a pitcher who hasn't been very good over the last two years.

Oh, that's what everyone's been saying? Well, then put me down for some consensus pie. Because the Giants just committed an awful lot of money to a pitcher who hasn't been very good over the last two years. And it's hard to fathom, at least at first. Let's dig into some historical analogies.

Todd Wellemeyer was one of the worst Giants pitchers I've seen. His ERA+ was 69 in 2010, and if the Giants stuck with him for two or three more starts, there's a chance they don't win the division.

Pretend Wellemeyer came back the following season and posted a slightly better, still awful, ERA+ of 76.

Then pretend the Giants inked him to a two-year, $8 million deal.

You would have freaked out. Pun half-heartedly intended. But you would have been upset. That much? For that guy? And what's the deal with two years? Shouldn't he have to battle for a rotation spot? Wait, is he even close to being worth a rotation spot?

Now add $27 million to that total deal. For Todd Wellemeyer. You would have heard the news, opened your door, and started walking the Earth, like Caine in Kung Fu. You would have walked from place to place, met people, got in adventures. But your brain wouldn't have let you process anything to do with baseball. No, no, no, that would have been too much.

Well it may have been too much, indeed. For us Dodgers fans, though, I'm fine facing Lincecum as a Giant for two more years. And even more fine knowing it was expensive keeping him there.


Fred's Brim said...

He'll still pitch well against us of course

Hideo Nomo said...

That'll buy SO MUCH WEED.

rbnlaw said...

He got a "full no-trade clause" in this contract?

Yes indeed; that salary is the best "no-trade" clause I've seen since Darren Dreifort's.