Thursday, February 4, 2010

Worst Arbitration Numbers Ever

I was thinking about Tim Lincecum's impending arbitration case and I cannot understand what the Giants were thinking. For those unfamiliar, MLB arbitration cases work by the team giving a possible salary number, the player gives their desired salary number, then a judge decides which number is more appropriate. There is no compromise. No average. Once it gets to arbitration, it is an Either/Or situation.

In Tim Lincecum's case, he stands to make the most money ever by a player who is eligible for arbitration, but not yet eligible for free agency. In fact, because he has been so dominant, he actually qualified as a "Super Two" so he goes to arbitration a year earlier than he would have otherwise.

If I'm not mistaken, the current record for a winning arbitration case is $10 million set by Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies. Tim Lincecum rightfully is asking to break that record by putting his number at $13 million. I mean, he is the back to back Cy Young Award winner in the National League. Without doing any research at all, I'm confident in saying that these seasons have to be the most dominant first two full seasons by a pitcher in history (someone please comment if there is another pitcher who is on par with Lincecum, ever.) The point is, he's an absolute savage and deserves his $13 million. And the biggest reason for that is...

That the Giants offer is at $8 million! WHAT?! You must be kidding me. Business-wise, you can't offer less than the record for someone who has been recognized as the best pitcher in the National League two years in a row. They might be able to actually win the case had they offered $10 million- thus saving $3 million. If a judge has to choose between $13 million and $8 million, it's a no brainer- $13 million is the only option. $8 million is simply too low.

Now the Giants have put themselves in a bad situation. We're talking Jack Bauer undercover in a terrorist cell bad. They are going to lose the arbitration case. While there is still a possibility they could settle with Lincecum before the arbitration case is held, they are in a bad position. Lincecum has all the leverage. He and his agent have to know they are in control here. If I were them, there's no way I'm settling for less than $11 million. $2 million less than $13 million might be worth it eliminate all risk of losing the case and having to settle for $8 million, but anything less than that, and I'll take my chances- and most likely, I'll be $5 million richer than what the Giants believe I deserve.

Sidenote- are the Giants really paying Barry Zito $17 million a year, and they are really going to lowball the face of their franchise with an $8 million offer. What a slap in the face. I guarantee the spike in attendance during Lincecum's starts makes more than enough to make up the difference of $5 million.

I typically think Brian Sabean is a good General Manager, but the more I hear him speak on the radio, and the more I see some of his moves, the less I believe that he is the guy to lead the Giants back to being a competitive playoff team. Bay Area (and NorCal) sports teams are in such disarray these days and much of it has to do with bad decision making in the front offices. I thought the Giants were on the right path, but with simple mistakes like this one, it seems obvious that they are not ready to be respectable once again- much like the other teams in the area.


GMoney said...

Maybe Clemens was as dominating in his first two years? I don't know though.

And I will question your "Sabean is a good GM" argument. Nothing he has done over the past 4-5 years has been relatively competent at all.

Tony B. said...

I've heard other people talk about how good he is (not everyone agrees on this) and I kinda just went with it. Obviously the Joe Nathan trade was one of the worst ever and he seems to have no eye for position players. Sabean seems to have been lucky that he signed Barry Bonds- that's about all he's done right over the years.

Yeah, I didn't mean to say he "is" good- I guess I meant he has a "decent reputation within baseball circles." But even that is going to shit these days.

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