Tim Lincecum was one of 128 players to file for arbitration on Friday, paving the way for him to surpass the record $10 million salary for a first-time eligible player. Ryan Howard set the bar in 2008, a year after he won the National League MVP award.
Lincecum, 25, has won the National League Cy Young award in each of the
last two seasons, so the $10 million mark figures to be a starting
point on negotiations. In November, Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports wondered
if Lincecum could file for as high as $23 million, matching C.C. Sabathia’s record annual salary for pitchers.
Through his first 90 games in the majors, Lincecum is 40-17 with a 2.90 ERA and 1.15 WHIP, so he has a pretty strong case, regardless of service time. Matt Holliday may have signed the most expensive contract this winter, but everyone around baseball will be watching how the Giants proceed with their young ace in the coming weeks.
Lincecum’s unique case may ultimately be a lesson in organizational patience,
since had the Giants had waited an extra 10 days before calling him up in 2007,
he would not have accrued enough service time to qualify as a “Super
Two” player for arbitration. To avoid this scenario, its become common practice to promote top prospects after Memorial Day. Take last season for
instance, when Matt Wieters, Tommy Hanson, Gordon Beckham, David Price,
Andrew McCutchen and Fernando Martinez all made their major league
debuts after May 25.
For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League East
Boston may have the most talent and, in Mookie Betts, the best player. The Yankees have the best farm system. Baltimore has all the dingers and the best closer. Toronto may have the best collection of heels, at least in the view of fans of the other AL East teams. The Rays have the best . . . hmm. I’ll get back to you on that.
Anyway, here are our previews for the American League East:
Boston Red Sox
Toronto Blue Jays
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays
Mets manager Terry Collins said on Wednesday, “It’s unlikely that [Steven Matz] will start the season with us.” The final spot in the Mets’ starting rotation will go to either Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo, Newsday’s Marc Carig reports.
On Wheeler’s innings limit, assistant GM John Ricco said, “There’s going to be some number but we don’t exactly know what that is.” Wheeler missed the last two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Neither Wheeler nor Lugo have had terrific springs as each carries a 5.11 and 5.56 Grapefruit League ERA, respectively. However, Carig notes that Wheeler has impressed simply by appearing healthy and brandishing a fastball that once again sits in the mid- to high-90’s. Lugo, meanwhile, proved crucial to the Mets last year, posting a 2.67 ERA across eight starts and nine relief appearances.