The Giants made headlines earlier today when they signed outfielder Hunter Pence to a five-year, $90 million contract extension. With that hurdle cleared, the Giants are now focusing on keeping starter Tim Lincecum around, reports Hank Schulman.
Though Lincecum has had a tough couple of years, he has been the biggest reason for their recent success, taking home back-to-back NL Cy Young awards in 2008 and ’09, and contributing to their championships in 2010 and ’12. Since the start of the 2012 season, however, Lincecum has a 4.76 ERA over 65 starts. He has shown promise at times and has looked better lately, posting a 3.66 ERA in his last six starts to wrap up the season.
Lincecum earned $22 million this season, the last of a two-year, $40.5 million extension signed in January 2012. CSN Bay Area’s Andrew Baggarly suggests Lincecum could fetch $30 million over three years on the open market, so the Giants would need to present a competitive offer.
Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.
In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.
The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.
The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.