Tim Lincecum, Still Not a Mariner

Dave · October 22, 2013 at 7:58 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

If there was one thing that felt absolutely inevitable, it’s that we were in for weeks and maybe months of Tim Lincecum to Seattle rumors. People in Seattle, maybe more than any other MLB city, absolutely yearn for every kid with anything close to a local tie to end up in a Mariners uniform. Lincecum was a star at the University of Washington, and a lot of people are still upset the Mariners passed on him in favor of Brandon Morrow way back when. Finally free to make his own choice about where to live and work, it seemed like Seattle would be high on his list of choices. And the Mariners, even with Taijuan Walker and James Paxton hanging around, need to improve their rotation. It seemed like a match made in Obvious Heaven.

Tim Lincecum cares not for the narrative, apparently. Today, before testing the free agent waters, he re-signed with the Giants for another two years. Why would he do that, you might ask? Because the Giants gave him $17.5 million per year and a full no-trade clause in order to stick around.

Yes, Tim Lincecum, coming off a couple of years of near replacement level performance if judging by runs allowed, was just guaranteed $35 million for the 2014 and 2015 seasons. A pitcher thought to be perhaps an interesting buy low candidate for teams looking for value instead turned out to be a pitcher who was in line for 70% of Felix Hernandez’s annual salary. Tim Lincecum will get more money next year than Hisashi Iwakuma will get from the Mariners for his first three seasons with the team. There is no buying low here. The Giants are paying Lincecum as if he’s just been humming along as a high quality pitcher with no real bumps in the road, at least in terms of annual salary. Without the bumps he’s actually hit, he’d have gotten this kind of salary for 5+ years, so the discount came in settling for just two.

But, still, there’s no way the Mariners should have been interested at this price. I wrote today over at FanGraphs that there was little difference between Lincecum and Dan Haren, who is expected to sign for something in the range of about half of what Lincecum just got. Today’s deal for Lincecum almost certainly upwardly revises the asking price for Haren, but he’s still not likely to get anything near this kind of deal, and the Giants may have just saved the Mariners from getting guilted into making an overly large commitment for a pitcher with some real warts.

So, yeah, no Tim Lincecum in Seattle. At $35 million for two years, I think we can consider that good news.


25 Responses to “Tim Lincecum, Still Not a Mariner”

  1. Kouvre on October 22nd, 2013 8:12 pm

    I’m pretty sure this is the worst pre-hindsight contract in history, besides Derek Jeter’s hilariously awful 3/$51 million/player option.

  2. Dave on October 22nd, 2013 8:23 pm

    Ryan Howard, always and forever.

    And any two year deal isn’t going to be that terrible, to be honest. Lincecum was probably worth something around $10-$12M per year, based on expected future value. This is an overpay, but not a franchise crippling one.

  3. befara on October 22nd, 2013 8:40 pm

    Can’t argue with that analysis. Still, the excitement of a hometown boy at Safeco would have been pretty damn fun 🙂

  4. Westside guy on October 22nd, 2013 9:04 pm

    Seriously – it’s hard to see anyone EVER topping that Ryan Howard contract in terms of “you have GOT to be kidding me” foresight.

  5. terryoftacoma on October 22nd, 2013 10:05 pm

    The only sad thing is he took a pay cut to sign at 17.5. I’m afraid this might inflate the prices for FA starters. We’ll have to see by how much.

    At least, I don’t to read all the rumors that would have been written this off season about him or Pence. Now, if Ellsbury would sign an extension.

  6. Flaco on October 22nd, 2013 10:13 pm

    He still has value, maybe not the stats he once had, but fans will pay to see him. I think after this off-season Mariner fans will have to come to grips with the reality that no player with any significant skill/value will join this organization…or manager for that matter

  7. John W. on October 22nd, 2013 10:47 pm


    Do you expect to see free agent contracts starting to really climb in price league wide? I know that the new CBA brings them down a bit with the qualifying offers and draft picks, but this is turning into an age where live T.V. is the only T.V. that matters, and that means that every sport is probably going to be making boatloads of money very soon.

    We’ve seen a lot of complaints from the informed players in the NFL and especially the NBA, commenting on how they now know they’ve been robbed by their new CBAs and that enormous money is starting to roll in to their leagues. We’ve also seen regional MLB T.V. contracts swell to groundbreaking amounts of money, even for small market teams. This has to start saturating free agent markets very soon right?

  8. phineasphreak on October 23rd, 2013 12:00 am

    It’s a bummer he won’t be pitching for the Mariners, but it’s another bullet dodged.

    I wish him well. Hopefully, with his declining velocity, he can begin command the plate more, a la Felix.

    Some of you have stated that you’d like the M’s to pursue Ellsbury. I’d like to see him here as well, but I get the feeling that the Tigers are going to swoop in and sign him. Just a feeling.

  9. Greeff on October 23rd, 2013 1:31 am

    “I’m pretty sure this is the worst pre-hindsight contract in history”

    How ’bout the last A-Roid contract ??

  10. PackBob on October 23rd, 2013 1:33 am

    If I thought the Mariners had a good chance to contend in 2014 I’d want them to invest in a good FA pitcher. As it is, I’m content with a 3-5 of Walker/Paxton/Ramirez and let’s see what they can do. Or sign a Dan Haren for insurance.

    I hope they go after Ellsbury just to go after a complete ballplayer. Almost any overpay would be worth it after suffering through the inept defense and base running of 2013.

  11. maqman on October 23rd, 2013 2:15 am

    Lincecum is a big overpay and I’m glad he’s not coming to the Mariners, he’s an albatross returning to his nest.

  12. bongo on October 23rd, 2013 6:20 am

    The inept defense of 2013 is not that difficult to fix, so we don’t need to overpay for it.

    Just don’t put 3 DHs on the roster, and then attempt to play them in the field.

  13. eponymous coward on October 23rd, 2013 8:06 am

    If I thought the Mariners had a good chance to contend in 2014 I’d want them to invest in a good FA pitcher. As it is, I’m content with a 3-5 of Walker/Paxton/Ramirez and let’s see what they can do.

    Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy: “We’re not going to be any good in 2014 because the overall roster talent isn’t where we need it to be, so we’re going to arbitrarily cut off a way of adding talent to the roster, by not adding additional talent to the rotation. Because of reasons.”

  14. JasonJ on October 23rd, 2013 8:26 am

    Yeah I’d like to see the M’s sign a reliable #3 starter even if that requires spending a good chunk of money. Then they can take a shot on a one-year contract for a veteran who is looking to re-gain value as a #4. Let the kids fight for the #5 spot and serve as depth when the inevitable injuries occur.

    This organization needs to start putting effort into filling all spots of the roster with major league talent instead of hoping that they get lucky with young/un-proven players.

  15. dantheman on October 23rd, 2013 8:39 am

    Apparently you are no fan of Tim Lincecum, who – wait a minute, let me check – has won 2 Cy Young awards, thrown a no-hitter and pitched in two World Series for the winning team. But then again, maybe you’re right. After all, if we went back a few short years, we would read some fawning praise for Jack Z. How has that worked out?

  16. WestyHerr on October 23rd, 2013 10:56 am

    Whatever. He has two rings. No current Mariners will ever get a ring.. here. Ever. Plus, who would leave San Francisco? The Venice of the west.

  17. MrZDevotee on October 23rd, 2013 11:20 am

    Have you looked at Lincecum’s stats the past 2 years… 1.4 WHIP, nearly 5 earned run average… 72 ERA+… His K/BB ratio is 50% down from his Cy Young seasons…

    Everything people were worried about in him seems to be coming true (a treacherous arm angle/delivery/body torque that screamed “injury risk”).

    I’m a total Lincecum fanboy, since his UW days… Would have LOVED to have had him the first couple years… But I’m absolutely glad SF overpaid for him. I’m tired of Z’s diceroll technique.

    (And the “how’d that work out” Z b.s. is so tired and unthoughtful… Sure he’s made mistakes– that’s what GM’s do, by the very nature of what they attempt to accomplish… Yet ANY GM in the league would have been heralded for the combination of: Vargas and Guty, plus Cliff Lee, Chone Figgins, Dustin Ackley, Danny Hultzen, Justin Smoak, Jesus Montero, Lueke for Jaso, etc… All A+ moves on paper. The fact they didn’t live up to the speculation about them SUCKS big time, but doesn’t make them bad moves on the frontside. Good process, bad results… C’est la Vie. He’s still RESPONSIBLE for the lack of outcome from those moves, sure, but the idea that someone like Dave who thought like EVERYONE else that those were good moves deserves ridicule is a bit pompous and armchair quarterback…)

  18. scraps on October 23rd, 2013 12:11 pm

    Can dantheman’s trolling be any more obvious?

  19. globalalpha on October 23rd, 2013 12:50 pm

    I like Erasmo, Paxton, and Walker. It would be great to see them as a quality 3-4-5 next year. But going into the season with that as the plan is pretty much planning to see Beavan and Noesi start a lot of fill-in games. Not bringing in some additional starting pitching this offseason would be inexcusable.

  20. djw on October 23rd, 2013 3:32 pm

    Is there a fanbase in professional sports that is more weirdly obsessed with “hometown” players than the Mariners? It sure doesn’t seem like it. I don’t know if there’s any sort of causal relationship between fan’s enthusiasm for players based on regional ties rather than, you know, being good at playing baseball, but just in case there is I wish people would knock it off. It makes it slightly more rational for management to do dumb things like bring back Griffey, give Bloomquist 1400 lousy plate appearances, let Ibanezosaurus roam RF, and so on.

  21. eponymous coward on October 23rd, 2013 3:34 pm

    Apparently you are no fan of Tim Lincecum, who – wait a minute, let me check – has won 2 Cy Young awards, thrown a no-hitter and pitched in two World Series for the winning team. But then again, maybe you’re right. After all, if we went back a few short years, we would read some fawning praise for Jack Z. How has that worked out?

    And Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941. Give that man a contract! He’s obviously the answer to our problems!

    Unless you have a working time machine, we don’t get to draft or find some other way to get the 2009-2011 Lincecum. Whoever gets him only gets the guy who is here with us in 2013. That guy hasn’t pitched very well the last couple of years- not horrible, but pretty dinger-prone now. Maybe he comes back and gets another CYA, maybe this is his new normal, maybe his arm falls off, we don’t know, but Dave’s argument is the Giants are overpaying for the chance to find out, compared to other options. That’s not unreasonable.

  22. Sports on a Shtick on October 23rd, 2013 10:34 pm

    That A-Rod deal still sticks out as the all-time worst in my opinion.

    2/$35M is pretty bad for Lincecum but I’d rather do that than 4/$48M for Carlos Silva.

  23. BobbleHeadJunkie on October 24th, 2013 6:55 am

    Besides Haren as a potential 3rd starter, do you see any value upside in signing a guy like Josh Johnson?Obviously I would like to see the M’s sign Tanaka, but I’m not sure they will and I’ve read they’ve been scouting Despaigne who I know nothing about. I bet we don’t get anyone like Tanaka or a buy low candidate like Haren and end up signing Vargas.

  24. GLS on October 24th, 2013 1:50 pm

    The Yankees have some albatross contracts for sure. The A-Rod deal kind of takes the cake, but they’ve also got the deals for Texeira and CC Sabathia through 2016. Hears hoping that A-Rod wins in court and soaks the Yankees for every last penny.

  25. downwarddog on November 1st, 2013 2:00 pm

    If there were no bumps on the road, Lincecum would have gotten 150 million. Easily.

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