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Tim Lincecum does not want a long term deal

Sep 23, 2011, 11:00 AM EDT

Lincecum cap

It seems like he’s been playing forever, but Tim Lincecum still has two more go-arounds in arbitration. Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports, however, that unlike most pitchers, Lincecum doesn’t want a long term deal:

“It’s just easier for me mentally not to have to put that kind of pressure on yourself,” he said. “Not that you don’t want to succeed, but when you’re signed to a long-term deal, it’s like saying, ‘I’m going to live up to every expectation.’ That’s why I like going year to year, so I can improve on it and not sit on what I’ve done.”

Based on a couple of in-depth profiles of the guy I’ve read I could totally see Lincecum thinking this way. And of course, seeing Barry Zito decompose in front of him these past couple of years probably hasn’t been the most uplifting experience.

That said, while there’s a lot of risk involved in not taking a long term deal, if Lincecum remains healthy and effective — big assumptions, but go with me here — I could totally see a series of one or two-year deals making him more money over the next few seasons that a big deal would.  Could you imagine one of the greatest pitchers in baseball essentially being open for bidding every year or every other year?

  1. nolanwiffle - Sep 23, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    ….not if he has an agent.

    • b7p19 - Sep 23, 2011 at 11:10 AM

      The agent works for him. The MLBPA, however, will not like this idea.

      • lardin - Sep 23, 2011 at 11:21 AM

        Tell the MLBPA to go take a flying leap of a short pier…

      • nolanwiffle - Sep 23, 2011 at 11:31 AM

        Is Master P his agent?

    • gogigantos - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:02 PM

      the plan is simple
      keep pitching like an alien
      and the bank will come to you

  2. Chris Fiorentino - Sep 23, 2011 at 11:08 AM

    Is he married with kids? If not, then this is the perfect attitude to have. Why bother with a long-term deal when you can control where you pitch every single year? And why worry about the long-term security if you aren’t married and settled down and don’t have to worry about taking care of the next 3 generations? I’d love to see a guy do something like play on one-year deals with various teams. With no franchise tag or salary cap, he could probably command more than $25 million a year on one year deals. Leave it to a stoner to come up with the best idea ever!!!!

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 23, 2011 at 11:13 AM

      While I’d love to think his reasons are what he says, I also wonder if he’s invoking a bit of gamesmanship here. Just think about it, two years from now, he’ll start his age 30 season. Never been injured, perennial CY candidate, how much could he fetch on the open market? AJ’s contract with the Yanks will be gone, I think the Phillies will have freed up some money. Boston is always in play…

      • Chris Fiorentino - Sep 23, 2011 at 11:21 AM

        I honestly think that if he plays out the last two years of arbitration and hits the FA market for a one year deal, he could probably get $30 million out of a team like the Red Sox, Yankees or Angels.

      • frenchysplatediscipline - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:16 PM

        Just the Yankees, Redsox, or Angels? I can see half the teams in MLB (if not more) taking a flyer on a healthy, dominant Lincecum for $30 mil for just one year since there is no long term obligation.

        He will obviously put some butts in the seats, and may push a contending team (like Milwaukee, St. Louis, Tampa, etc) to the top of the heap.

      • gogigantos - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:42 PM

        please please please, not StL

      • Glenn - Sep 23, 2011 at 7:55 PM

        Butts in the seats thing – disproved by Bill James long ago. Hard to believe, but who is starting has little influence on the gate.

    • dailyrev - Sep 23, 2011 at 11:14 AM

      Left unsaid by the peace-loving and diplomatic Timmeh (if grass rather than alcohol were the drug of choice in Washington and at the UN, we would soon see utter transformation in the performance of politicians and diplomats, I guarantee it): “boy it would sure be nice to pitch for a team that could, you know, score a few runs now and then…”

    • lardin - Sep 23, 2011 at 11:22 AM

      Actually Charley Finley wanted to make all contracts one year deals when free agency started.

      • brianmoline - Sep 23, 2011 at 11:59 AM

        You’re right, but the owners were too short-sighted to give it a try. With every player as a free agent every season, the demand would go WAY down from where it is now, when you have just a few high profile guys available to the highest bidder.

      • gogigantos - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:28 PM

        The owners were foolish not to try. Marvin Miller proposed nearly the same thing. The owners fear lead to a limited market that naturally drives prices up and Miller did not object. Think about it, instead of just one or two high talent dudes on the market all the talent was up for bid, the prices, salaries wouldn’t skyrocket bidding for just the one or two.
        Finley and Miller were a bunch smarter than some since elected to the Hall, eh.

    • gogigantos - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:41 PM

      I believe Timmy is a genius. He may behave in ways that we think of as childish. I think he is just focused. I know know know he is a competitor and believes every season he needs to be better. Yeah, he bought a pad. He also hired a trainer and worked out in the offseason for the first time. He does have a sense of getting older and a STRONG desire to be better. He has evolved and is a work in progress still. He may look like a teenager to many of us, but he is coming up on his third arbitration year. It seems like he is still just a kid on a skateboard with that hair, but he is twice a Cy winner. Take him lightly and he will beat you before you know what happened.
      Maybe he really does just live in the now like many wish we could.

  3. atlsp - Sep 23, 2011 at 11:17 AM

    I agree this seems to fit Lincecum’s character, but it’s probably an easier thing to say when you’re a young pitcher who has never faced a serious injury. I’d bet that if Lincecum does experience some kind of injury during his last couple arb-years, he may feel a greater sense of mortality and start thinking about a 3-4 year deal in a different light.

    Here’s to hoping he stays healthy – I would love to see that scenario of an elite pitcher being on the market every year or two, I just think there’s more reasons it rarely (if ever?) happens.

  4. emeraldcityfan - Sep 23, 2011 at 11:20 AM

    Considering he is from Bellevue and bought a big expensive place in Seattle last year, I’m glad he isn’t signing long term. The Mariners should have drafted him over Morrow in the first place. Safeco Field would be perfect for him.

    • aceshigh11 - Sep 23, 2011 at 11:24 AM

      Could you imagine having Lincecum and Hernandez as your 1-2 starters?

      But I’m thinking that Tim has probably had enough of meager offenses unable to win him games where he only allows 2 or 3 runs.

      Come to think of it, King Felix probably has too.

      • emeraldcityfan - Sep 23, 2011 at 11:30 AM

        Haha good point!

      • Francisco (FC) - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:12 PM

        Could you imagine having Lincecum and Hernandez as your 1-2 starters?

        Strike that, can you imagine having Cliff Lee and Hernandez as your 1-2 starters-oh wait….

    • gogigantos - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:23 PM

      it would be great if they any more clue about building an offense
      Given the cash already in his pocket, his pad is pretty modest, and largely unfurnished. I just don’t think this guy fits any mold we know. He really may not think that far along. His advisers might. But, well, he did keep to Cy trophies in his back seat for a long spell watched over by his pug, dog.
      Gibson says he respects him, “he competes as hard as anyone in the league”
      He hasn’t broken down and all who saw him thought for sure he would. I was sure he was surgeries and a short career. He shoulders a load and wants to win, he wants to get even when he doesn’t. The guy is special. He isn’t a kid anymore. I think he may really know what he wants. He wants to work year to year, I believe him, he has never shown that he means anything other than what he says.

  5. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Sep 23, 2011 at 11:21 AM

    Google Translator says: I’m outta here in 2 years when I’m eligible for free agency, but I know I can’t say that with 2 years of arbitration yet. I’ve heard stories about teams that can hit the ball, and catch it with gloves made of leather. I want to see one of those…

    • dlevalley - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:44 PM

      I’m a Giants fan, and when I read the quote, this is exactly what I heard…

  6. aceshigh11 - Sep 23, 2011 at 11:22 AM

    I can’t believe he’s 13-13 with a 2.59 ERA.

    The Giants offense is SHOCKINGLY bad.

    • uberfatty - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:11 PM

      reminds me of Ben Sheets’ season in like 2004 where his K/BB rate was absurd, ERA was good, and had a losing record.

      • uberfatty - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:15 PM

        just went and checked the 2004 season out – even more amazing than i remembered.

        237 IP
        264/32 K/BB
        2.70 ERA
        2.76 xFIP

        8.0 fWAR

        and he went 12-14!!!

      • gogigantos - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:06 PM

        and really hasn’t been heard from since,, broken he is and done

    • gogigantos - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:17 PM


      • gogigantos - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:07 PM

        I mean, duh, the offense is historically bad bad bad bad
        painful to watch and still they are loved

        Cain and Timmy will be paid
        as Giants remains to be seen

  7. Jonny 5 - Sep 23, 2011 at 11:26 AM

    Every time Tim Lincecum is quoted I always hear Dr. Greenthumb playing in my mind simultaneously. I guess that’s not his problem, but mine.

    • gogigantos - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:17 PM

      anybody’s problem?

  8. APBA Guy - Sep 23, 2011 at 11:38 AM

    The Giants have to think seriously about their payroll 2 yeas from now, when Cain and Timmy won’t be so cheap. It’s the only way they’ve been competitive with the carcasses of Rowand and Zito on their books. But the two young pitchers will cost more than Rowand and Zito do now, so just getting those two off the books won’t be enough. Then there’s the Panda, who represents practically their entire offense this year. Unless the Giants plan to cut ties with one of their young aces, there is no way they bid aggressively for Beltran or another premium bat this off-season.

    • Francisco (FC) - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:16 PM

      there is no way they bid aggressively for Beltran or another premium bat

      I literally cringed when I read this line… and I’m not even a Giants fan, why on Earth would you want to bid aggressively for an aging, injury prone, outfielder? I mean yes he can hit but it’s a big risk not worth the $16 or $18 a year he’s likely going to ask (for three years at least).

      • APBA Guy - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:32 PM

        You and I wouldn’t want to bid for Beltran, though he has showed well lately. But this Sabean we’re talking about, and Beltran is that most precious of all commodities: a veteran.

      • gogigantos - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:16 PM

        well, yeah,,,
        that guy Sabes,,,,
        He may actually be working for his job for a change. He may feel a need to build for the now and over spend the future for his job security. I hope that the security of the club is his future and Beltran isn’t part of it,,, or Reyes,,, or,,,,
        Damn Sam, there is cheap talent in the dugout right now. Cheap enough that they can keep the window open on the rotation for a few more years and more than compete. A younger lineup the next couple seasons pays for a couple more years of increasing expense in the rotation.

    • gogigantos - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:51 PM

      agree about the money for the Giants,, The Zito money comes off in two and is given to Cain and Timmy, that is my hope.
      I hope that next year is the year they go cheap at SS with Crawford. A LOT of arb numbers go up this off season. I want as much of the bullpen as possible to return, minus Affeldt. Honestly, one more season of Wilson is enough at the money he will command. The window for this team is still good. Sound management of the money keeps the window open longer.

  9. hackerjay - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:13 PM

    I remember before Zito took his huge contract that there was a lot of talk about how he liked living in Northern California and that he would give the A’s a discount because he was a really laid-back surfer dude. Then the offers started rolling in, and he did what everyone else in his position would do. Just like Lincecum will.

    • Bill - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:18 PM

      Yeah, its crazy because San Francisco is so, so far away from Oakland.

  10. Detroit Michael - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:47 PM

    Well, if he takes the risk of injury by not having a long-term deal, he should be paid more on a per-year basis.

  11. gogigantos - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:12 PM

    He is on a path of his own. Creating his own mold and I hope it isn’t broken and there are more like him down the road.
    Yes, he did buy himself a nice crib on a tall floor in a condo in Seattle, home town and all. Spendy sure, but the place isn’t super expensive and I am sure he paid cash for it. His largest expense for a long while has been his habit, and there are worse habits for sure. Before the season started he toured a local, SF, camera crew around it and let them film him playing some FIFA vid game with his best High School buddy. His Cys hadn’t been unpacked and the place was mostly unfurnished beyond a pool table, bed, and game system. The Cys though had moved out of the backseat of his car. His car is second hand from a former Giant teammate, nice Mercedes, still, second hand. I believe he is honest about his ambitions. His stated ambition is to simply be better next year. I really don’t think this unique guy doesn’t really think to much past that. I hope his advisers do. I really hope the Giants do.
    Had long thought this guy was due to fall apart. He seems to be clued into training and weight issues that had never been a problem for him. Maybe he learns that carbs are better taken not from McD’s.
    I just don’t sense a long term plan from him. If there was, if he was a secret genius beyond what he does on the mound, Seattle would be it.
    The longer he is a Giant, the better,,, the Lincecum is some kind of alien artist on the mound,, his sole goal seems to be to get better and prove again and again that all doubters are wrong,, the money is respect, not money like it is to me,, He seems to be as simple as he speaks, and that is beautiful

  12. amazie - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:42 PM

    Nothing there about how much he loves playing for the Giants. Nothing about how much fun this 16 out of 32 starts with one run or no runs of support year was for him.

    That speaks volumes. This guy is not Gigantically Happy!
    and what pitcher with a 2.59 ERA in their right mind would be?

    Unless the Giants decide to pay him a ton of money I think he walks and NEVER looks back.

    One more thing- the Giant fans stink. This from a Giant fan. I hope he does walk there are better teams and fans out there and he has earned better than this year

    • dlevalley - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:49 PM

      “… the Giant fans stink…”

      Do you go to games? They’re not the most down-to-earth fan base in the world, but that park is full and loud almost every game, even weeknights. And even the casual fans are pretty knowledgeable about the team. I’ve lived in a lot of big-league cities, and the Giants have a pretty spectacular fan base.

      “This is from a Giants fan. I hope he does walk there are better teams and fans out there and he has earned better than this year.”

      I don’t think you understand what that first sentence means.

      • amazie - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:56 PM

        Sure they love the team, but they are sure quick to dump on the individual players.
        Big difference

      • gogigantos - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:00 PM

        have dumped on a few overpriced SStops and non producing over priced vets, but,, yikes,, ask even Zito if the fans haven’t cut him way more slack than most of the League would,,,, Phillie for example,,,,,,,,,,,
        who dumped on didn’t have twice a load coming?

      • Francisco (FC) - Sep 23, 2011 at 4:21 PM

        Not that I wish to intrude in this fraternal matter but maybe the individual in question is a Yomiuri Giants fan? This might explain the discrepancy…

    • gogigantos - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:58 PM

      huh? knowledgeable, loud, loving and present
      aside from loving Sabes, not much wrong with most Giants fans, great place to pitch,,,, huh?
      On what planet are you attending Giant games bubba?
      for sure a difficult year to win games, tough to swallow as defending champions for sure,,, still,, plenty of love, especially for Timmy

  13. Vindicative - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:19 PM

    Uh huh. I came to this non-story by clicking a link which screamed, “Lincecum Drops Free Agency Bombshell”. Some bombshell. I’m gonna need a minute here.

  14. mgflolox - Sep 24, 2011 at 12:43 AM

    It might be worth remembering that he’s already gonna pull in over $20 mil. for his career to date, I think he already ought to be pretty financially secure. Maybe, like most of us, he wants the freedom to work wherever and for whomever he pleases.

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