I'm surprised, but happy the Giants avoided arbitration with Tim Lincecum. I kept thinking they would make a one-year deal, or even go to arb, and then work on a contract in the next off-season. The Giants do not seem to like the arb process and I can't say I blame them. Far better to negotiate directly than talk a guy down in front of a disinterested party. Tim is going to cost about $25M/year in free agency, but that is now two full seasons away. In 2014 the Giants can buy out Barry Zito for a $7M pittance and that might free them up to be players in the Freak-stakes. Now the Giants and Lincecum can drop the contract talks for the season and bring up the idea of an extension in the 2012-2013 off-season. That's the ideal scenario. If Tim declares free agency after the 2013 season then all bets are off. In a year I'll expect some serious talk about an extension for The Franchise. (Let's hope his agent's words are sincere.) I'm happy to shelve that topic and focus on Timmeh taking the ball every fifth day!
Matt Cain is now on the front burner. This is the negotiating window as his contract expires and he becomes a free agent this fall. There seems to be a sentiment that Cain will sign a "team-friendly" deal (think Jered Weaver, 5/85), but that's just buzz. I have yet to hear anything solid. I get the feeling MC wants to stay in San Francisco, but that's, once again, just speculation. I never blame a player for taking the money. This is their livelihood, they should do what is best for them. I would be devastated if no. 18 left for "greener" pastures--he's my favorite player, not to mention the namesake of the blog. But business is business and I have no beef with that. The Giants supposedly offered Tim a 5-year, $100M deal. I wonder if they'll dangle something similar in front of Matt. I keep thinking that a 5-year, $90M offer would get it done. That's a raise over his 2012 salary ($15.3M) and in line with similar pitchers (Cole Hamels is "only" getting $15M). How about $16/17/18/19/20M for 2013-2017? Would that work?
My enthusiasm for the 2012 Giants is predicated on an extension for Cain. I've believed all along that both sides are committed to getting it done. Now is the time!