The Lincecum arbitration is MLB's fight, not the Giants'

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Thumbnail image for lincecum_090913.jpgBuster Olney tweeted something really interesting a few minutes ago:

Heard this: The
Giants might wind up sending as few as one member of their front office
to the Lincecum hearing. The heavy lifting on management’s side of the case will be done by MLB, and not the Giants.

This follows up on the news that union head Michael Weiner will be at the arbitration as well.

In light of all that this proceeding seems less like a dispute about the value of Tim Lincecum’s services to the Giants and more like a proxy war with the union and MLB playing the role of the Soviets and the U.S. — take your pick as to who’s who — and Lincecum and the Giants playing the role of some rightest regime and leftist insurgency.  It’s more about politics than it is about the conditions on the ground.

Which is understandable, I suppose. Major League Baseball obviously wants to do everything it can to keep
a high-salary precedent from being set and the union obviously wants a new
high-salary bogey benchmark.  In light of that I assume that all of five minutes will be spent on Lincecum’s stats with the rest of it being spent in intellectual debate as to what, in an ideal world, the best arbitration-eligible player should make.

Which may be fun — livin’ on an abstract plain can be fun — but I can’t help but think that the arbitration process was designed to avoid these sorts of political disputes and, rather, to provide a streamlined mechanism for Player A and Team B to agree on a salary without all the drama.

NL Wild Card Game: Cubs vs. Pirates lineups

Jake Arrieta

Here are the Cubs and Pirates lineups for tonight’s Wild Card game in Pittsburgh:

CF Dexter Fowler
RF Kyle Schwarber
LF Kris Bryant
1B Anthony Rizzo
3B Tommy La Stella
2B Starlin Castro
C Miguel Montero
SS Addison Russell
SP Jake Arrieta

Cubs manager Joe Maddon wanted Tommy La Stella in the lineup over Jorge Soler or Chris Coghlan, so he starts at third base and Kris Bryant shifts to left field. Bryant started just four games in left field all season, compared to 136 starts at third base. Also of note: After batting Addison Russell ninth–behind the pitcher–116 times this season Maddon has him in the more traditional eighth spot tonight.

RF Gregory Polanco
3B Josh Harrison
CF Andrew McCutchen
LF Starling Marte
C Francisco Cervelli
2B Neil Walker
SS Jordy Mercer
1B Sean Rodriguez
SP Gerrit Cole

Pedro Alvarez started 119 games at first base for the Pirates and with right-hander Jake Arrieta on the mound he was the presumed starter tonight, but instead manager Clint Hurdle has benched the 27-homer slugger in favor of utility man Sean Rodriguez. Alvarez is vastly superior to Rodriguez offensively, especially versus a righty, but he’s also very shaky defensively. During the regular season Rodriguez started a grand total of one game at first base against a right-hander, so this qualifies as a hunch by Hurdle.

The Cardinals are optimistic about Yadier Molina’s status

St. Louis Cardinals' Yadier Molina celebrates as he arrives home after hitting a solo home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants Monday, Aug. 17, 2015, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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Jenifer Langosch of reports that Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina‘s bum thumb responded well after participating in baseball activities Tuesday, including catching, hitting, blocking balls and the like.

This morning Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said that he’s now even more optimistic that Molina will be on the NLDS roster. The Cards’ first game will be Friday against the winner of tonight’s Cubs-Pirates tilt.

Having Molina would obviously be a boon for the Cardinals on the field. For a look at what Molina means to the Cardinals off the field, however, take some time to go read Derrick Goold’s excellent story about what Molina’s teammates think of him. Short version: the world. It’s worth your time, even if you’re not a citizen of Cardinals Nation.