Triple-A’s only two-time Cy Young Award winner made his 2016 debut last night for the Salt Lake Bees. It was about what you’d expect from a guy who hasn’t pitched in a year, but Tim Lincecum is happy with it.
Lincecum allowed three runs and three hits, lasting five innings and 88 pitches. He got better as the game went on, giving up his runs in the first and second inning and gaining confidence through the third, fourth and fifth, retiring nine batters in a row at one point. He struck out five, walked three and hit a guy. There was rust, but he felt good overall. He likened it to spring training where you don’t look at the results as such as much as you look at whether you can put the ball where you want it and check off benchmarks and the like.
The Angels signed Lincecum to a $2.5 million deal. He’s expected to spend most of June at Salt Lake before coming to Anaheim.
We’ve heard the back and forth between players and owners on money, on safety, on the size and the shape of the season. But not until now have we heard just how little baseball Major League Baseball and its owners actually want: 48 games.
That’s all they want, at least if they have to, as agreed, pay players their prorated salaries on a per-game basis. That’s the report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan, who writes this morning on the state of the current negotiations.
Passan’s article has a lot more than that. It contains a number of financial calculations about how much teams say they stand to lose per game played under any given scenario. That said, given the near total opacity when it comes to owner finances, we have no real way to evaluate the claims. The players have a bit more access to league financials, but even they are reported to be unsatisfied with what the owners have shared in that regard. So, while interesting, nothing Passan presents there is really convincing. It stakes out the positions of the parties but doesn’t really tell us much about the merits.
Which is to say that a 48-game schedule sounds like either (a) a bluff aimed at getting the players to offer financial concessions; or (b) a declaration from the owners that they’d prefer almost no baseball if it means that they have to lose any money. The whole “we’ll happily take the benefits of a good market but won’t bother if there’s a chance we might lose money” approach I’ve lambasted in this space before.
We’ll see soon which it is.