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.
MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosh reports that the Cardinals are shutting down pitcher Carlos Martínez from throwing for two weeks because his shoulder strength isn’t where it should have been at this point. Langosch added that an MRI showed no structural damage in Martínez’s right shoulder.
Interestingly, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak didn’t sound too happy with Martínez offseason training regimen. Per Mark Saxon of The Athletic, Mozeliak said, “Obviously, there’s a history with Carlos’ shoulder and it would be probably in everybody’s best interest if he maintained a constant or perpetual approach to that program.”
Martínez, 27, battled oblique and shoulder injuries last year. He accrued just 118 2/3 innings, making just 18 starts. He was moved to the bullpen when he returned from the disabled list in August and finished out the season in that role. Still, Martínez managed a 3.11 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 60 walks.
Langosch reported last week that the Cardinals were considering using Martínez in relief again in 2019. The latest news may push the Cardinals to indeed use Martínez out of the bullpen once again. He will be reevaluated in early March, but there is a chance he won’t be ready for Opening Day.