Agent says Lincecum not pursuing multi-year deal

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While speculation swirls about what kind of salary Tim Lincecum could command via arbitration later this offseason, agent Rick Thurman said yesterday that “as of today” the two-time Cy Young winner plans to “pursue a one-year deal” rather than sign a multi-year contract with the Giants.
John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that “the preference in Lincecum’s camp is to take full advantage of the arbitration system, which in turn would appease the players’ union” that “wants to see the process played out, if only so Lincecum could set a new bar for arbitration-eligible players.”
Serving as a guinea pig by going through the arbitration process would likely maximize Lincecum’s short-term earning potential while making the MLBPA happy, but by doing so he’d also risk giving up significant money in case of a serious injury. In other words the Giants would happily guarantee him at least $50 million and likely a whole lot more to buy out his arbitration eligibility and perhaps one year of free agency, whereas even a healthy, dominant Lincecum may not surpass that amount in total earnings via arbitration until his third hearing.
It’s hard to put myself in the shoes of a 25-year-old who’s just been named the league’s best pitcher in back-to-back seasons, but given the number of great young arms that have been ruined by injuries it might make sense to take slightly less money up front. Is the difference between making, say, $75 million or $60 million over the next three seasons worth the risk of a blown-out elbow or torn shoulder stopping Lincecum well short of either figure? Going year-to-year is maximum reward and maximum risk.

Orioles plotting late-offseason push? Gallardo, Fowler, Alvarez, Bruce in consideration

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Baltimore’s front office appears to be lining up a run of potential roster additions leading into the beginning of spring training.

We’ve already passed along the reports suggesting they are close to a three-year deal with free agent starter Yovani Gallardo, but now FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler could be next on the Orioles’ target list. It they get those two deals done, the O’s could then chase free agent slugger Pedro Alvarez.

Rosenthal says the Orioles are even eyeing Jay Bruce of the Reds, though the FOX reporter hears the O’s might not have the prospects to pull off that kind of trade.

The focus for the Orioles out of the gate this winter was re-signing Matt Wieters and Chris Davis. Wieters accepted his one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer in November and Davis was locked up to a seven-year, $161 million contract in mid-January.

Now the O’s are spending a little leftover cash on late-offseason additions to improve their position in what should be a tight 2016 American League East race.

Brandon Belt signs $6.2 million deal, avoiding arbitration with Giants

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In a last-second compromise before a scheduled heading today, first baseman Brandon Belt and the Giants have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $6.2 million deal.

Belt requested $7.5 million and the Giants countered at $5.3 million, so they’ve settled slightly on the team-friendly side of the midpoint. Belt will be arbitration eligible again next season for the final time before hitting the open market as a free agent.

He’s coming off a very good season in which he hit .280 with 18 homers and an .834 OPS in 137 games and Belt has a lifetime .803 OPS through age 27, making him one of MLB’s most underrated all-around first baseman.

Orioles sign ex-Padres reliever Dale Thayer

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Right-hander Dale Thayer and the Orioles have agreed to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training.

Thayer had a rough 2015 season for the Padres, posting a 4.06 ERA and spending time in the minors, but he was a solid part of San Diego’s bullpen from 2012-2014 with a combined 3.02 ERA and 173/50 K/BB ratio in 188 innings.

At age 35 there’s no guarantee that Thayer will look good enough to claim a spot on the Opening Day roster, but he’s got a strong chance to wind up pitching middle relief for Baltimore.

Phillies acquire Taylor Featherston from Angels

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Taylor Featherston, who was designated for assignment by the Angels last week, has been traded to the Phillies for a player to be named later or cash.

Featherston stayed in the majors with the Angels for all of last season due to being a Rule 5 pick from the Rockies organization, but the 25-year-old infielder hit just .162 in 169 plate appearances.

He’s been much better in the minors, but nothing about his track record there screams quality regular and the Phillies are likely viewing him as a defense-first bench option for now.