Tim Lincecum requested $21.5 million and was offered by the Giants $17 million when arbitration figures were exchanged Tuesday. Both were records for a player with less than six years of service time. Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News reports that “significant progress” has been made in negotiations since the filing numbers were exchanged and that both sides are confident they can strike a new deal without going to an arbitration hearing next month.
The length of the contract being discussed isn’t exactly clear, but Lincecum remains under team control for two more seasons and is reluctant to give up any of his free agent years unless it’s part of a long-term deal. The Giants previously balked at the suggestion of an eight-year contract, not surprisingly. However, Baggarly writes that there at least appears to be “plenty of common ground” on the value of a one- or two-year deal.
Lincecum, 27, posted a 2.74 ERA and 220/86 K/BB ratio over 217 innings in 2011. The two-time NL Cy Young winner has a 2.98 ERA over his first five seasons in the majors.
The Dodgers have pulled off their first blockbuster trade of the offseason, sending Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir, Charlie Culberson, Adrian Gonzalez and cash considerations to the Braves for Matt Kemp, per announcements from both teams. The Braves are set to designate Gonzalez for assignment on Monday, making him a free agent.
Kemp, 33, had a down year with the Braves in 2017, hitting a career-low -0.5 fWAR in 115 games with the club. At the plate, he slashed a modest .276/.318/.463 with 19 home runs and a .781 OPS through 467 plate appearances, but was hampered by a nagging left hamstring strain through most of the season. This will be his 10th campaign with the Dodgers.
Whether or not Kemp can rebound during his second stint in Los Angeles is almost beside the point, however. The deal is effectively a salary dump to end all salary dumps. Offloading multiple one-year contracts for McCarthy, Kazmir and Gonzalez should bring the Dodgers back under the $197 million luxury tax threshold and position them to make a run at some of the big fish in next year’s free agent pool. It’s also worth noting that they may not keep Kemp around for long — per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, the club appears as likely to flip the veteran outfielder as they are to use him. As for the Braves, they not only rid themselves of the $43 million due Kemp through 2020, but added some rotation and infield depth with McCarthy and Culberson and can now give top prospect Ronald Acuna a legitimate tryout in left field.