Lincecum settles with the Giants on a two-year deal

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The Giants and Tim Lincecum have agreed to a two-year $23 million contract today, avoiding arbitration.  The exact split of the dollars across those two years has still not been confirmed.  My source is telling me that the first year of the deal will be between $9.5-$10 million.  Jon Heyman, in contrast, is reporting that it’s $8 million in 2010, $13 million in 2011 with a $2 million signing bonus, paid out at a million a year. (UPDATE: I’m told that, for whatever reason, the union values signing bonuses as all applying to the first year of the deal, while MLB prorates it over the life of the deal. Accordingly, both my number and Heyman’s is right.  To the union, Lincecum is making $10 million in 2010. To MLB, he’s making $8 million in salary + $1 million in signing bonus).

Either way, this deal has me puzzled, because it sounds less appealing in most respects than the three year, $37 million offer Lincecum reportedly rejected.  I understand why the Giants and Major League Baseball would want this — they consider it extremely important that Ryan Howard’s record $10 million first year arbitration award not be exceeded — but I’m not sure what’s in it for Lincecum.  Security, sure, but it comes at a pretty hefty cost.

Whatever the case, the Giants have their ace, Tim Lincecum is a very rich man, and we won’t have to go through this again with Timmy — a man who is arbitration eligible for four years due to his super two status — until 2012.

Clayton Kershaw struggles with control, walks six Marlins

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Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.

Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.

The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.