It's on: Tim Lincecum files for arbitration

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Thumbnail image for tim lincecum cy young.jpgTim 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.

How Yu Darvish tipped his pitches during the World Series

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You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.

Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.

Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.

Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.