Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Number one priority

The number one priority for the San Francisco Giants is to sign Tim Lincecum to a multi-year deal. I made the mistake of reading the Sporting Green this morning (why do I do that?) and came across this nugget from Henry Schulman:

There is no rush to forge a long-term contract with Tim Lincecum.

This is a "Schulman-said-Sabean-said" bit in the third sentence of the opening paragraph. Sabean is quoted in the piece, but does not address Tim specifically.

If this is indeed what Sabes, Nuke, and LarryB actually think, then they are fools.

I'm starting to really worry about this off-season. These dumbfucks are going to screw everything up. Tell me it isn't so, O My Brothers.


Bob said...

It's sort of like Obama and Afghanistan. No rush, just do the right thing.
I'm going through Giants withdrawal.
I hate it that there's no game tonight, or tomorrow, or tomorrow.
I hate being reduced to talking about Sabean, what he might or might not do. Why can't they make the Panda GM? He's brilliant at everything he tries.

Zo said...

Signing Licecum to a long term deal has been the number one priority since he first stepped on the mound. When they had the opportunity to sign the best hitter in baseball to a long term deal, did they hesitate, or was money an issue? No, it was not. So now they have an opportunity (apparently) to sign the best pitcher in baseball, and should be no less willing to treat it as a priority.

One other point to keep in mind though, is that Brian Sabean, to my recollection, has never been truthful in press conferences. Maybe candid is a better word. I don't know why, except it is probably better than being a blabbermouth. Watch what he does, not what he says. That was the number one disturbing thing in the article, although not the only one.

Zo said...

Andrew Baggarly has posted a transpcript at http://blogs.mercurynews.com/extrabaggs/. It is impressive in the very high words/meaning ratio. As far as I can tell, Sabean and Bochy say nothing at all and spend a lot of time doing it.

Ron said...

I know that these 2 particular players are free agents, so this is a moot point, but some comments in the big 'press conference' suggest that this is something that actually crosses Sabean's mind:

Would you actually conceive of trading Matt Cain for a hitter of the calibre of Matt Holliday or Jason Bay? You've got to be kidding - there is no way.

Now, back to reality - the Giants should part with some of their cheaply-earned corporate $ to offer Jason Bay a nice contract. It's about time that this team had a power-hitting, high OBP Canadian OF.

Ron said...

Correction: Canadian-born - he became a US citizen in July.

Great player, obviously great name for a 'Bay' area team.

Worth a lot less than Matt Cain, but a great player nonetheless.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Sabean is not only a bleedin' arrogant but also a bloody obfuscatory gobshite.

They have to sign Tim--no excuses.

giantsrainman said...

Timmy is ours for at least four more years regardless. Very few players at this stage of their careers ever agree to give up free agent years in an arbitration years contact. I see no reason to believe that Timmy would be different. Further, I see no reason to want to assume the injury risk of going beyond four years for even Timmy.

So the only thing a long term contract does is provide cost certainty and a discount to the Giants for taking the risk that Timmy might get hurt before the contract expires. It makes perfect sense to me that the Giants want to know what arbitration award curve Timmy is on before they negoiate such a contract. They want to know what scale they are negoiating a discount off of.

Is Timmy on a $6M, $10M, $14M, $18M path; is he on a $10M, $15M, $20M, $25M; or something in between? I have no problem with the Giants wanting the arbitration process to resolve this before the negoiate the discount for the long term contract. Clearly the Giants feel that Timmy will get less in arbitration then his agent seems to be trying to get them to expect and they want to resolve this first.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Ryan Howard got $10 M in arbitration, then signed a 3-year deal the following season. Tim's worth at least that much to the Giants. The Phils also locked up Cole Hamels after he was a "super-2" arb-eligible player. I think they are smart to keep their nucleus together.

Dustin Pedroia signed a 6-year deal after his MVP season. Boston was smart--he's a key piece of their team. These two franchises want to win over the long term--I think the Giants would do well to emulate some of their practices.

Lincecum did not regress this year. He's worth more now than last year and will command more in arbitration. I think he may even qualify as a "Super-2" and get a year head-start on arbitration. I don't get why the Giants would sign Cain and Lowry to long-term deals and not Lincecum. He's the best pitcher to come out of the system EVER.

I can understand being hamstrung buy the idiotic contracts to Zito and Rowand, and maybe the Giants are afraid to bite on Lincecum for the long-term. But he will only cost them more down the road, and they claim they want to build a winner around pitching, and they have plenty of money despite their whining, so it seems disingenuous of them not to pursue "The Franchise." Lincecum says he wants to stay--that ought to be enough. We wait too long and Tim will become our version of Johan Santana. (That worked out for the Twins, but that's because they know how to make trades!) He'd look good in pinstripes.

Make him an offer--see what it will take to keep him. The Giants might "win" in arbitration at the cost of screwing up a long-term relationship. We finally have someone worth spending money on--why chicken out now?

Anonymous said...

Mark - you said a mouthful there, & I agree with every word. Despite selling nearly every seat in the house for years & having other big economic factors in their favor, the Giants have been peddling this 'we're a mid-market team with a payroll limit' crap for years. What they actually mean is that 'as long as we do the minimum to keep people mildly interested, we are content to have mid-level aspirations'. That is what separates them from teams like the Phillies, Cardinals, & Twins who have repeatedly been post-season participants, despite not being called the Yankees, Red Sox, or Mets (or Angels or Cubs). And, despite their poor-boy words, they have still dished out huge piles of money to some questionable players.

Personally, I can't fault them too much for the Zito contract. I know, I know - he's a pitcher & you shouldn't give mega-year contracts to pitchers. But, he had never been hurt, had always been effective, & was a Bay Area mini-legend. It was a bold move with a lot of potential upside (thanks to the length of the contract, there is still time for that potential upside).

The other big contracts for even older, less effective players have been painful. They had no upside, stunted our development of younger players, & we all knew that they were stupid moves, when they were made.

Signing Tim Lincecum to a long-term deal is the obvious thing to do. He is better than Zito, better than anyone, has not had a history of injury, is beloved by the minions, & is very young. Soon, the really big $ teams are going to be throwing enormous numbers at him. Stop running the risk of pissing him off enough to pay attention - get him signed up. Would you rather take a gamble on him winning more Cy Youngs as a Giant (not really that much of a gamble with the insurance policies teams have), or would you rather watch him win them as a Red Sock? It's a pretty easy choice.

Ron said...

That last post was by Ron - I forgot to fill in my name.

giantsrainman said...

Ron and MC,

You are both missing my point. The Giants intend to sign Tim to a four year deal to cover his arbitration years and there is zero doubt that he will have four of these starting next year. However, the Giants clearly believe that Timmy's agent is over estimating what Timmy will get threw arbitration and want the first year of arbitration resolved first before they do this so that they both parties will now what they are negoiating a discount off off to provide Tim the security he desires.

M.C. O'Connor said...

No, I think I get your point, GRM. The Giants want to let the arbitrator set Tim's "value" before making a multi-year deal. You might be right about that, but I think the Giants are chicken-shit if that's how they are playing it. Tim's a special case. He's "The Franchise." They are being way too cagey with him. Once he indicated a willingness to deal we should have dropped the hardball BS and started getting it done.

giantsrainman said...


I strongly suspect that it is not the Giants that are engaged in "hardball BS" but rather Timmy's agent. I belive Timmy's agent wants to negoiate with the starting point that Timmy will get an arbitration award of $10M for 2010.

If I am right the Giants are right to not agree to this starting point. The pay of the best free agent starting pitchers is about 20% lower then the pay of the best free egent position players. For example A-Rod's contract pays him an average of $30.5M (including $30M in bonuses that are likely to be earned) per year while CC's contract pays him $23M per year. Another example Teixeria's contract pays him an average of $22.5M per year while AJ's contract pays him an average of $16.5M.

The Giants are being smart in waiting until Timmy's agent accepts (or is forced to accept) this reality. Timmy is not going to get the $10M arbitration award Ryan Howard got.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Tim may not GET $10 M but he is clearly WORTH $10 M. Why are the Giants suddenly nickel-squeezing? Is it the recession? Is it the load of dumbass contracts they've already committed to? I don't know the answer, but no answer I can think of makes me happy.

giantsrainman said...


Are you really saying that the Giants should pay Timmy above arbitration market price just because they pay Zito, Rowand, and Renteria above free agent market price?

To my way of thinking it is time to stop the overpaying. I just do not see an basis for fearing that Timmy will get pissed if the Giants don't overpay him.

M.C. O'Connor said...

I have no problem paying a guy what he is worth. And Tim is the most valuable player in the league except for perhaps Albert Pujols. The Giants were clueless and overpayed for a long list of guys (e.g., Zito, Rowand, Renteria, Roberts). Now they want to cry poor-mouth and be fiscally repsonsible? We finally have someone WORTH paying for and we are going to nickel-and-dime him? Great! Because of our idiotic brain trust, we can't afford the one guy we can't afford to lose. No matter how you slice it, the Giants are fools. They wasted money on sub-par talent and now they are counting beans when they finally have a true franchise player.

The fans want to win. The owners want a revenue stream. As long as we have Tim, we will be respectable, and the bodies will fill the chairs. But until the organization commits to WINNING by drafting and signing REAL TALENT, we will spend a lot of Octobers watching other teams in the playoffs.

I hope I'm wrong. But everything I see and hear from Nuke, LarryB, Sabes, and Ol' Boch convinces me that we have out-of-touch, out-of-date, and inept management. If we get Tim squared away that will be a first step in changing my mind. As a fan, I want to believe in the brain trust. But the bloviating and sidestepping and platitudinous garbage these guys put out makes it hard to trust them.

Zo said...

MOC - Although I agree that, when assessing the braininess of the brain trust, an abundance of caution is due, I am not sure they are "trying to nickel and dime [Tim Lincecum]." GRM's analysis is reasonable, the Giants can make a generous offer above an arbitration figure, rather than negotiating down from an agent's dream offer. Having said that, I think that Zito's contract (as I said a couple years ago) helps set a floor for anyone who is better. There is only one real measure of not failing here - that is to get Lincecum signed long term. Anything else and it is apparent to everyone that he needs to go. No one will be willing to believe any excuses if he winds up elsewhere or with a one-year arbitration award.

Zo said...

Sorry - by "he needs to go" I mean Sabean. By "he winds up elsewhere" I mean, obviously, Timmy.

giantsrainman said...


Now you want to pay Timmy Free Agent Market Price "what he is worth" even though he is just 1st (of 4 for him) year arbitration eligable? Thank God you have nothing to say about what the Giants actually do!