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Agent says Lincecum not pursuing multi-year deal

Nov 27, 2009, 1:32 PM EDT

While speculation swirls about what kind of salary Tim Lincecum could command via arbitration later this offseason, agent Rick Thurman said yesterday that “as of today” the two-time Cy Young winner plans to “pursue a one-year deal” rather than sign a multi-year contract with the Giants.
John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that “the preference in Lincecum’s camp is to take full advantage of the arbitration system, which in turn would appease the players’ union” that “wants to see the process played out, if only so Lincecum could set a new bar for arbitration-eligible players.”
Serving as a guinea pig by going through the arbitration process would likely maximize Lincecum’s short-term earning potential while making the MLBPA happy, but by doing so he’d also risk giving up significant money in case of a serious injury. In other words the Giants would happily guarantee him at least $50 million and likely a whole lot more to buy out his arbitration eligibility and perhaps one year of free agency, whereas even a healthy, dominant Lincecum may not surpass that amount in total earnings via arbitration until his third hearing.
It’s hard to put myself in the shoes of a 25-year-old who’s just been named the league’s best pitcher in back-to-back seasons, but given the number of great young arms that have been ruined by injuries it might make sense to take slightly less money up front. Is the difference between making, say, $75 million or $60 million over the next three seasons worth the risk of a blown-out elbow or torn shoulder stopping Lincecum well short of either figure? Going year-to-year is maximum reward and maximum risk.

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