Lincecum poised to break the arbitration bank

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Yahoo!’s Tim Brown reports that Tim Lincecum’s agents could file a $23 million arbitration figure if the Giants don’t come to their freakin’ senses and buy out the guy’s arbitration years.

$23 million would dwarf the previous largest request — Derek Jeter asked for $18.5 million in 2001 before settling on a ten-year contract.  The largest ever award to a guy with low service time like Lincecum was $10 million to Ryan Howard. Personally, I can’t see the Giants even submitting anything as low as $10 million as their arbitration number (remember: the arbitrators have to pick either the player’s number or the team’s number; they can’t split the difference).  He has already accomplished more than Ryan Howard did at this point in his career, and there is a good argument that there is no better pitcher in the game than the guy. Against that backdrop, it strikes me that the Giants would have to submit at least $10 million in order to not insult the arbitrators’ intelligence.

That said, I don’t think that the arbitrators would actually award $23 million. The process is defined by the search for comparables with a healthy dose of service time analysis, and while there certainly isn’t a comparable pitcher in terms of quality to Lincecum, there isn’t a comparable salary anywhere close to that either.  CC Sabathia makes that and he has eight years under his belt.  The arbitrators would certainly balk at just erasing nearly seven years of service time.

But clearly, Timmy is gonna get paid.  If the Giants move now and make a long term offer, they can make that paycheck (relatively) low on the front end, and allow it to grow as Aaron Rowand’s and Edgar Renteria’s contracts fall off the books in the next couple of years.  With a talent like Lincecum’s, it seems like the smarter play than gambling with the arbitrators.

Straight-away center field will be 385 feet at London Stadium

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Marley Rivera of ESPN has a story about some of the on-field and in-game entertainment, as well as some aspects of the field conditions, for this weekend’s London Series.

The fun stuff: a mascot race, not unlike the Sausage Race at Miller Park or the President’s race at Nationals Park. The mascots for London: Winston Churchill, Freddie Mercury, Henry VIII and the Loch Ness Monster. I suppose that’s OK but, frankly, I’d go with Roger Bannister, Shakespeare, Charles Darwin and Guy Fawkes. Of course no one asks me these things.

There will also be a “Beat the Streak”-style race which had better use the theme to “Chariots of Fire” or else what the heck are we even doing here.

They’ve also taught ushers and various volunteers who will be on-site to sing “Take me out to the ballgame,” which is a pretty good idea given how important that is to baseball. As a cultural exchange, I think some major league team should start using “Vindaloo” by Fat Les during the seventh inning stretch here. It’s a banger. It also seems to capture England a bit more accurately than, say, “Downton Abbey” or “The Crown.”

That’s all good fun I suppose. But here’s some stuff that actually affects the game:

The end result will have some interesting dimensions. The field will be 330 feet down each foul line, and it will have a distance of 385 feet to center field, which will feature a 16-foot wall. Cook also said it would have an expanded, “Oakland-like” foul territory, referencing the Athletics’ Oakland Coliseum expanse.

Those dimensions are unavoidable given that the square peg that is a baseball field is being shoved into the round hole that is a soccer stadium. As Murray Cook, MLB’s senior field coordinator tells Rivera, that sort of thing, while perhaps less than ideal, is at least in keeping with baseball’s strong tradition of irregular field conditions. It will, however, be one of the shortest dead center distances in baseball history.

Oh, and then there’s this:

Protective netting was also an important issue addressed when building the ballpark, with Cook stressing that his team has implemented netting that “is the largest you’ll ever see in any major league ballpark.”

[Craig makes a mental note to bookmark this for the next time MLB says it won’t mandate extended netting in the U.S. because doing so is too difficult]