Posted on: March 4, 2012 4:53 pm
There was a belief around baseball that Giants star Matt Cain was going to be an easy sign for the Giants. Now that doesn't seem quite so certain.
Word going around the game a few back was that Cain, who's eligible for free agenxy after the season, might even be prepared to sign back with the Giants for less than $100 million. Now that seems far less likely.
The Giants offered at least $100 million on a five-year deal to ace Tim Lincecum but according to sources started negotiations significantly lower than that to Cain, who would be the staff ace in many other players but is clearly No. 2 to Lincecum in San Francisco. Meantime, there were whispers around the game that Cain -- who once signed a $27-million, three-year deal that covered his arbitration years and turned out to be very team friendly -- wasn't prepared to pursue top dollar on the open market.
However, Cain's comments so far in spring training certainly have done nothing to foster the idea that he is a slam-dunk sign. He recently told Giants writers in Scottsdale, Ariz., "I believe both sides would like to have something resolved, whether that's signing back or not. Once the season starts, I want to be thinking about the season. That's my main goal.''
It isn't known for sure whether Cain's stance has changed, but there are definitely indications he's at least open to leaving. Sometime in the last several weeks, his longtime agent Landon Williams was hired by CAA Baseball, a large agency. Whether that was a factor in Cain's stance isn't known either. Cain's new CAA rep Jeff Berry, who's working with Williams on the high-profile case, declined comment the other day when asked about the situation.
But consider that CAA negotiated Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman's $100-million, six-year extension, and Zimmerman had two years to go before free agency (to Cain's one) as well as a history of injuries (Cain has none). Some baseball people say they believe Cain's true comp is Cliff Lee and his $120-million deal, while others say he could even top that on the open market; while Lee has shown more dominance, Cain would be a considerably younger free agent.
The best guess here is that Cain still winds up staying with the Giants. He is homegrown guy who has shown inclinations of preferring to stay in the past even if doesn't seem like quite the certainty anymore. One thing seems sure, though, the Giants' great hope to keep the contract below $100 million looks like a major long shot now.
Posted on: January 24, 2012 8:38 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2012 2:25 pm
Giants superstar Tim Lincecum's just-agreed-upon $40.5-million, two-year deal with the Giants means he and the team avoid arbitration right into free agency, which is a great thing. No team wants to go to arbitration with its biggest star. And Lincecum wasn't especially fond of the idea, either. He went right into the hearing room in Tampa two years ago, but when it became clear he wanted no part of the sometimes bitter system, he and his agent Rick Thurman cut a fair and quick two-year deal.
Once again, they've worked out a two-year arragement, right up to the day Lincecum can become a free agent. The problem is: what happens then?
Before polishing off the latest two-year deal, the Giants offered Lincecum at least $100-million on five years while Lincecum has countered with a deal of eight years, or at least seven years plus an eighth year option. It's early, but the sides are about $75 million apart, maybe more than that. They have two years to bridge that gap. But let's not kid ourselves. That's a whopper of a gap.
The team will likely have an easier time with Matt Cain, who's shown a willingness to take a hometown discount in the past. Thanks to Cain taking a $27.25-million, three-year deal, he will have made almost exactly half of Lincecum over their final three arbitration years. Some folks are risk averse. Cain is one of those folks, apparently. The word going around is that he will take a deal for less than $20 million a year. He could beat that as a free agent assuming he posts his usual year, but word is out, he will probably play it safe.
Meantime, Lincecum is the gambler. He's the swashbuckler. This should come as no surprise to those who have watched Lincecum compete. He seems to want to bet on himself, and if he puts together two more typical years, he may cash in big. Some could even see him as the game's first $200-million pitcher.
Posted on: January 22, 2012 6:31 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2012 10:46 am
The Giants are talking to franchise pitchers Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain about multiyear deals, but while there are early indications they'll have a decent or better chance to lock up Cain into his free-agent years, the team seems to be focusing on deals of two years or one with Lincecum after he rebuffed an offer of at least $100 million for five years.
Giants people are saying only that talks are "ongoing'' with Cain, but there is said to be a fair amount of optimism they can keep Cain on a longterm deal for under $20 million a year. Cain already took one long team-friendly deal, but Lincecum, who has so far gone year to year, seems more likely to wind up with a two-year deal now rather than sign a contract into his free-agent years.
Cain along with Cole Hamels has been seen as one of the two pitching gems of the 2012-13 free agent class, and while teams are salivating at the thought of having a shot at Cain, people familiar with the talks see him staying in San Francisco. Meanwhile, the Giants appear to be tens of millions apart on a long deal with Lincecum after he rebuffed their offer for five years and nine figures and he countered much higher than that. It is thought Lincecum seeks a deal for seven or eight years but would be content to do a one- or two-year contract if no megadeal can be accomplished now. The Giants offered Lincecum $40 million on a two-year deal, and the sides logically could wind up in the low 40s after Lincecum requested an arbitration record $21.5 million for a non free agent and the Giants countered at $17 million for 2012.
Baseball people believe Cain might be able to match Cliff Lee's $120-million as a free agent if he tested the market after the year, but word is that he badly wants to stay in San Francisco. Additionally, industry experts suggest that if Lincecum could put together two more years like his first four that two years from now as a free agent he could possibly become the game's first $200-million pitcher.
Posted on: December 28, 2011 2:43 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2012 8:58 pm
After some more negotiating this winter, indications are that there's still a sizable gap in long-term contract talks between the San Francisco Giants and their ace pitcher Tim Lincecum.
Neither side would speak directly about the specifics of the negotiations that have been kept remarkably quiet this winter, but it is thought the sides are still at least a couple years and tens of millions of dollars apart. The Giants had made locking up Lincecum and his rotation mate Matt Cain their top priorities this winter, priorities 1 and 1A if you will.
The Giants are believed to have raised an offer they made this summer that was said to have been for four years and presumably about $80 million sometime in the past few weeks, but Lincecum, a two-time Cy Young winner and the 2010 World Series hero, is thought to be seeking an eight-year deal. Neither side has suggested exactly where the Giants stand now, but people familiar with the talks suggest the sides are also weighing one- and two-year options now, a clear signal that they aren't yet close to agreeing on a contract of substantial length.
Both sides have suggested all along that they are amenable to working out a deal of one or two years if they can't agree now on a long-term arrangement. However, the Giants' ultimate goal has been to do a deal that would cover some of Lincecum's free agent years. Lincecum is eligible for free agency after the 2013 season. A case could be made that there is even more urgency to the talks involving Cain; while he is clearly the No. 2 man in the rotation, he is eligible for free agency after the 2012 season.
While a longterm deal for Lincecum would almost surely run the Giants well more than $100 million, the arbitration process isn't going to be cheap, either. He made $14 million in 2011 (including a $1 million bonus) and could approach a record $18-20 million via an arbitration settlement, with the possibility of $25 million or more in '13 looming. A case could be made that Lincecum has been baseball's best pitcher over the past four years. He certainly has been its most decorated, with three strikeout titles to go with all the other hardware.
Lincecum, a Seattle native, has thrived since te Giants made him one of the best No. 10 overall picks ever a few years back. San Francisco has embraced his quirky delivery and nature. Likewise, all indications are that he loves the city and wants to stay a long while. The rival Dodgers gave star outfielder Matt Kemp a $160-million, eight-year extension this winter.
Lincecum, 27, is 69-41 with a 2.98 ERA, but that doesn't tell the story of the brilliance he has displayed. He was only 13-14 in 2011 when a incredible lack of offensive support undermined his efforts.