Monday, January 18, 2010


War at Home

Well, let's hope the looming arbitration battle between Tim Lincecum and the Giants doesn't get as ugly as the Late Night mudslinging affair between NBC and its two stars, Conan O'Brien and Jay Leno. What's the Lincecum equivalent of the "I'm With Coco!" movement? "I'm With Freak Boy?" "I'm With Pothead?" If things get heated, let's at least pray that someone trots out Vomiting Kermit to lighten the mood.

Of course, everybody in Giants-land (and all of baseball, for that matter) is waiting on pins and needles to see what kind of arbitration payday Lincecum stands to haul in. Even if it isn't the $20 million cash bonanza some are envisioning, it'll still be an unprecedented sum. As such, you can bet that the MLBPA and other GMs around the league are watching this very closely. By refusing to take a long-term contract from the team, Lincecum has brought himself to this point, standing to make a crapload of money on a year-to-year basis at the risk of losing money down the road in the case of a career-altering injury (yes, knock on wood).

For a nice rundown of what to possibly expect out of these proceedings, check out Jeff Euston's writeup for BP. According to the article, the largest raise ever given to a first-year arbitration-eligible was to Dontrelle Willis in 2005. Willis earned an increase in salary of over 1000 percent, to $4.35 million. An equivalent raise would get Lincecum to about $7.5 million, which is laughably low. In fact, I can't imagine the Giants even submitting a figure under $9 million, taking Lincecum's two Cys into account and all. Let's just hope Lincecum's post-arbitration career is more successful than Dontrelle's. Yuck.

I've touched on this before, but my amatuerish guess is that the two sides settle somewhere around $12 million. Even with the special provision regarding "special accomplishment" is very much in play, the fact that there's no precedent for any first-year arb player getting star free agent money is likely to work against Timmy.

-A beautiful tribute to a heroic man. Happy Martin Luther King Day, Giants fans!

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