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.

Alex Wood to try pitching out of the stretch

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Pedro Moura of The Athletic reports that Dodgers starter Alex Wood plans to pitch out of the stretch throughout the 2018 season. Wood got the idea when he watched Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg pitch against the Dodgers.

Wood, 27, finished last season 16-3 with a 2.72 ERA and a 151/38 K/BB ratio in 152 1/3 innings. That’s a mighty fine season, one in which many pitchers would not dare to mess with something that isn’t broken.

Interestingly, Wood indeed has had better results with runners on base — when he would pitch out of the stretch — as opposed to the bases being empty, with a respective OPS allowed of .523 versus .684, respectively. Over his career, he has allowed a .617 OPS with runners on and .706 with the bases empty.

In response to Moura’s tweet about Wood, retired pitchers Dan Haren and Jered Weaver took the opportunity to burn themselves. Haren tweeted, “I pitched a few seasons completely out of the stretch actually, just not by choice.” Weaver responded, “Sometimes I would just step off and throw the ball in the gap myself because I knew the hitter would do it anyways.”