Lincecum settles with the Giants on a two-year deal

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The Giants and Tim Lincecum have agreed to a two-year $23 million contract today, avoiding arbitration.  The exact split of the dollars across those two years has still not been confirmed.  My source is telling me that the first year of the deal will be between $9.5-$10 million.  Jon Heyman, in contrast, is reporting that it’s $8 million in 2010, $13 million in 2011 with a $2 million signing bonus, paid out at a million a year. (UPDATE: I’m told that, for whatever reason, the union values signing bonuses as all applying to the first year of the deal, while MLB prorates it over the life of the deal. Accordingly, both my number and Heyman’s is right.  To the union, Lincecum is making $10 million in 2010. To MLB, he’s making $8 million in salary + $1 million in signing bonus).

Either way, this deal has me puzzled, because it sounds less appealing in most respects than the three year, $37 million offer Lincecum reportedly rejected.  I understand why the Giants and Major League Baseball would want this — they consider it extremely important that Ryan Howard’s record $10 million first year arbitration award not be exceeded — but I’m not sure what’s in it for Lincecum.  Security, sure, but it comes at a pretty hefty cost.

Whatever the case, the Giants have their ace, Tim Lincecum is a very rich man, and we won’t have to go through this again with Timmy — a man who is arbitration eligible for four years due to his super two status — until 2012.