So did Tim Lincecum’s new deal match the all-time record for first year arbitration players or not? Well, it depends on who you ask.
I hadn’t realized this before, but I’m told that, for their own particular bookkeeping reasons, the MLBPA
values signing bonuses as applying to the first year of the deal in
their entirety while Major League Baseball prorates them over
the life of the deal. As such, Major League Baseball can — under their own accounting rules — declare victory in the Lincecum deal because, according to them, Tim Lincecum’s contract for 2010 will not match Ryan Howard’s record of $10 million, falling just short with an $8 million salary and a $1 million bonus. The union, however, can claim that Howard’s deal was matched with an $8 million salary and a $2 million bonus.
Ultimately this is all semantics, of course. Sure, MLB’s construction sort of ignores the time value of money, but we’re only talking about, what, $75K here? Lincecum will probably spend more than that on Bob Marley albums, incense and Taco Bell runs in 2010.
Still, the fact that the numbers came out where they did, thereby allowing this little $10 million game, strongly suggests that the precedential cum political concerns surrounding Lincecum’s arbitration mattered a whole hell of a lot to the people involved. Which I think is kind of stupid, really, because this should all be about what Tim Lincecum is worth, not the league and the union declaring victory. But then again, no one asked me.
This is more significant for basketball fans than baseball fans, but Magic Johnson is taking over basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers. Dan Feldman over at PBT has the full story on that.
For our purposes, you probably know that Johnson is part of the Dodgers ownership group. Anthony McCullough of the L.A. Times got comment from the Dodgers, saying that despite his new full-time job, his status with the Dodgers will be unchanged:
Maybe I’m alone in this, but I’m not entirely certain what Magic does with the Lakers, so the first clause in Kasten’s comment may be doing most of the heavy lifting here.
Jon Heyman reports that the Nationals are closing in on a deal with catcher Matt Wieters. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that it’s a two-year deal. UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is for two years, at $21 million. There is an opt-out for him after year one. He will get $10 million in 2017 and, if he returns in 2018, he’ll get $11 million.
Wieters was not expected to go this long without signing, but his market, which many thought would be robust, never materialized. The Nats had been rumored to be interested for months, but they were apparently waiting to swoop in late and get what one presumes will be a bargain.
Wieters, 30, finished last season hitting .243/.302/.409 with 17 home runs and 66 RBI in 464 plate appearances. The Nationals currently have Derek Norris and Jose Lobaton, so who falls where in the catcher fight in Washington is unclear, but one presumes that Wieters getting a two-year deal puts him at the top of the depth chart.