Tim Lincecum isn’t signing with Giants before free agency

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Last month, after locking up Hunter Pence to a long-term deal before he hit the open market, Giants general manager Brian Sabean indicated that he hoped to do the same with impending free agent Tim Lincecum.

However, according to Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com the two sides haven’t been able to come to an agreement and Lincecum expects to become a free agent.

Baggarly reports that the Giants offered him a two-year deal and plan to make a qualifying offer to Lincecum, which means they’ll receive draft pick compensation if/when he signs elsewhere. He’d also have the option of simply accepting the qualifying offer, which would be a one-year deal for around $14 million, but presumably Lincecum feels he can do better.

He’ll be one of the more interesting free agents to track, because Lincecum is still just 29 years old and his track record includes two Cy Young awards, but since the beginning of 2012 he has a 20-29 record and 4.76 ERA in 65 starts.

Ian Kinsler lists the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central

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Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.

Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list

Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.

Angels demote C.J. Cron to Triple-A

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Angels first baseman C.J. Cron hit a grand slam against the Mets on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to keep his spot on the major league roster as the club announced his demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday. Infielder Nolan Fantana has been promoted from Salt Lake.

Cron, 27, was hitting a disappointing .232/.281/.305 with one home run and RBI in 90 plate appearances. I guess you can say that wasn’t the kind of Cron job the Angels were expecting. Cron was an above-average hitter in each of his first three seasons, finishing with an OPS+, or adjusted OPS, of 111, 106, and 115 (100 is average).

While Cron is figuring things out in the minors, Luis Valbuena, Jefry Marte, and Albert Pujols could each see some time at first base.