How Lincecum did — and did not — match the record for first year arbitration awards

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lincecum_090913.jpgSo 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.

Anthony Alford to miss 4-6 weeks following wrist surgery

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Blue Jays’ outfielder Anthony Alford will miss at least 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left wrist, the team announced on Saturday. Alford was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier in the week after sustaining a left hamate fracture on a foul pitch, and could miss significant time in what looks to be a lengthy rehab process. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the procedure has been scheduled for next week and will be performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan in Arizona.

Alford, 22, was called up to the majors from Double-A New Hampshire last Friday. He went hitless in his first three outings, finally catching a break against the Brewers on Tuesday when he pinch-hit a leadoff double in the seventh. The injury occurred two innings later when Alford fouled off a pitch in the ninth inning, fracturing his wrist in the process.

Alford will join eight other players on the Blue Jays’ disabled list, including outfielders Steve Pearce (calf strain), Dalton Pompey (concussion) and Darrell Cecillani (partial shoulder dislocation). He’s expected to be replaced by 24-year-old outfield prospect Dwight Smith Jr.

Stephen Strasburg hit a new career high today

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Good luck getting a hit against the Nationals this weekend. Stephen Strasburg followed Max Scherzer‘s 13-strikeout performance on Friday with a dazzling outing of his own on Saturday afternoon. The right-hander whiffed a career-best 15 batters in seven innings, allowing just three hits and a walk in the Nats’ 3-0 win.

It took Strasburg several innings to get into a groove after pitching into (and out of) a jam in the first inning. The Padres loaded the bases with Allen Cordoba‘s leadoff single, a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman and a four-pitch walk to Cory Spangenberg. By the third, Strasburg was cruising, striking out the side on 18 pitches and keeping the Padres off the basepaths until the sixth. He recorded his 15th and final strikeout in the seventh inning, catching Padres’ prospect Franchy Cordero swinging on a 1-2 pitch to effectively end his outing.

While 15 strikeouts set a new career record for the Nationals’ ace, he came close to reaching the mark twice before. The first time, he struck out 14 of 24 batters during his major league debut against the 2010 Pirates, though the 5-2 win did little more than keep the Nationals neck-and-neck with the Marlins at the bottom of the NL East. Five years later, he tied his 14-strikeout record against the 2015 Phillies, tossing a one-hitter in eight innings to cement his ninth victory of the season.

The only one who doesn’t seem overly enthused by the new record? Strasburg himself, who told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier and AJ Cassavell: “It’s pretty cool, but there’s another game five, six days from now. I’ll enjoy it tonight, but back to work tomorrow.”