Saturday, May 10, 2008

Stopper Tim

One of the features of a truly great starting pitcher, of an "ace," is that special ability to stop a losing streak. By the sheer force of one's will (and talent), an entire team's momentum and fate can be redirected. This is what young Mr. Lincecum has demonstrated repeatedly so far this season; specifically, today's gem was the fourth victory by Tim following a Giants' loss.

This was perhaps Tim's best outing of the young season. His eight innings match a career high. The Enchanter gave up four hits; two of which were solo homers, while striking out eight and walking one. The numbers, while impressive, don't really tell the story. Tim set the tone immediately by striking out the first three batters LOOKING. Cool, huh? This kind of domination continued throught out the game. His best inning was the seventh; three outs from the heart of their potent order ON SEVEN PITCHES. Another thing I always look for is how a pitcher responses after a does he deal with the next batter? Tim was unfazed after Howard led off the second with an opposite field blast (boy howdy is that guy good!) as he got three straight fly outs. With one out in the eigth, Tim gave up a homer by their catcher, then a single! After a coaching visit, He finished his night with a fly out and, of course, another strikeout. The kid has poise.

Everything seems a little different with Tim on the mound. Even if we fall a behind, there is a sense that we can still win. There can be no doubt that we are all watching the real deal here. This all begs the question, and I am really asking for answers here,


Is this something to worry about? Is it OK to live through arbitration years? Is Lincecum (and his Daddy) holding it up? Matt signed a biggie, right? What gives?


Anonymous said...

Brother Bob:
I was curious to see what adjective Jon would give to Tim today."Stopper" is sort of a matter-of-fact label. I guess he's saving "awesome" and "dominant" for the future.
Kudos to Castillo for a big day at the plate.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Dominating performance against a good club. Aaron Rowand is our BEST hitter--he was expendable in Philly. Not only did Tim strikeout the side in the 1st and finish off the 2nd with three flyouts (after Howard's HR), he got three groundouts in the 3rd! He seems to be saying "I can get you out however I want."

Cot's Contracts has a glossary of terms useful to talking about Tim's status. Tim is not eligible for free agency for some time (6 yrs MLB service) and not eligible for arbitration until the end of 2009. Of course, he might be the best pitcher in the league by then. I hope we can get him to sign a deal, otherwise we'll have Johan Santana West.

M.C. O'Connor said...

I forgot to add that we raised this question--Tim's contract--before, and Martin from OGC had a detailed comment with much the same info. I have a feeling he reads Cot's as well.

q.v. Wed 16 April MMIX

We recently signed the worst contract in history. I expect management is gun-shy, and they aren't in any hurry. This off-season, perhaps, to avoid arbitration? If Tim is really this good, he'll go in to arbitration loaded for bear and win a bundle. Why would he sell low this fall? I'm afraid our organizational chaos may drive away our best player, who looks like he might be one of the best in baseball.

JC Parsons said...

I know all that stuff about arbitration and how long we have control of Tim. But I also know that VERY RARElY does an organization let a player like Tim go through all that; for example, Cain. Likewise, VERY RARELY does the player refuse the long contract (after all, injuries are common) What I am worried about is WHY. Martin just seems to care that we have him, like all teams control young players, what I care about is that we have him FOREVER. And maybe even more important, that HE WANTS TO BE HERE. It is one thing to have contractual control, it is another to have a player bound to an organization. If there is one player we want as a Giant forever it is Tim. Even more than Matt, sorry MOC.

So that gets me back to the original question. Why Matt and not Tim? If players are locked up and we can't lose them for a while (as Martin reminds us) then why do teams EVER sign their studs to regular long contracts early?? Why is every other young stud (Cain, Hamels, Haren, etc.) signed or in the process??

M.C. O'Connor said...

Matt's minor league contract was purchased in August 2005, he signed his 4-year deal in March 2007. He put in a full year of pitching in 2006 in the interim.

Tim's minor league contract was purchased in May 2007. 2008 is his first full season. I'll start to worry that something is wrong if we fail to sign a long-term deal with him this off-season.

We debated Matt vs. Tim before, way back in December and again in January. This year, Matt looks like he is still young, still raw, still unpolished after 86 career starts. He's 23, I can live with that. I expect him to keep improving. Tim, however, looks like a polished veteran. Intagibles, eh?