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.

Ian Kinsler lists the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central

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Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.

Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list

Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.

Angels demote C.J. Cron to Triple-A

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Angels first baseman C.J. Cron hit a grand slam against the Mets on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to keep his spot on the major league roster as the club announced his demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday. Infielder Nolan Fantana has been promoted from Salt Lake.

Cron, 27, was hitting a disappointing .232/.281/.305 with one home run and RBI in 90 plate appearances. I guess you can say that wasn’t the kind of Cron job the Angels were expecting. Cron was an above-average hitter in each of his first three seasons, finishing with an OPS+, or adjusted OPS, of 111, 106, and 115 (100 is average).

While Cron is figuring things out in the minors, Luis Valbuena, Jefry Marte, and Albert Pujols could each see some time at first base.