The Giants went above and beyond to keep another star on Tuesday, re-signing Tim Lincecum to a two-year, $35 million contract that will result in him forgoing free agency.
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Alex Pavlovic was the first to confirm the dollars.
It’s still a paycut for Lincecum, who made $18 million in 2012 and $22 million this year under the terms of a two-year contract that took him through his final arbitration years. Of course, he signed that deal coming off a fourth straight season in which he made the All-Star team, received Cy Young votes and struck out at least 220 batters. He’s done none of those things the last two years.
In fact, Lincecum has been one of the game’s worst starters the last two years. Of the 88 pitchers to qualify for the ERA title in 2012, Lincecum finished dead last in ERA+, which accounts for pitcher friendly AT&T Park. In 2013, he finished 77th of the 81 to qualify. His strikeout rate remains quite strong, but with his velocity diminished, he’s giving up more hits and homers than ever before.
Providing some hope for the future is that Lincecum’s peripherals have been better than his ERAs the last two years. Still, unless some velocity comes back, he’s probably not going to be anything close to a $17.5 million-per-year pitcher these next two seasons. Given that the Giants do play in such a pitcher friendly ballpark and that they’ve had success with reclamation projects under Dave Righetti’s watch, it’s hard not to think there would have been much better ways to spend all this money.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.