The San Francisco Giants face a tough decision whether or not to re-sign Tim Lincecum as he will be a free agent after the 2013 season. A crowd favorite and one of the most popular players on the team, the Giants could alienate many fans if they don’t re-sign the former 2 time Cy Young Award winner. Though his statistics have been in decline the last couple of years, Lincecum’s history as a two time Cy Young award winner and two time World Series champ could potentially earn him between 12 to 15 million dollars a year over at least 3-4 years. For those years and dollar amounts the Giants may be better off letting Lincecum sign with another team and using the money on improving other parts of the team. The concerns the Giants must look at are Lincecum’s declining velocity, control issues and his overall decline as a pitcher. When I think about Lincecum’s decline I think of Barry Zito before he became a free agent and how he started declining as a pitcher for the Oakland Athletics before free agency. Take a look at Lincecum’s statistics compared to Zito before he signed with the Giants.
Average Statistics after CY Young season
Tim Lincecum 4 years after last Cy Young
Average Wins: 12
Average Losses: 13
Barry Zito 4 years after Cy Young
Average Wins: 14
Average Losses: 12
Zito’s declining velocity and control issues did not stop the Giants from signing him to one of the worst contracts in MLB history. They looked at his history and thought he could return to his Cy Young form. The Giants need to learn from that mistake, not listen to the fans or be swayed by loyalty. The danger of signing Linceum to a big contract is that it may keep the Giants from fixing the glaring holes in their lineup. Spending money on a Left Fielder with some pop would be a smarter move versus spending money on a pitcher who has averaged 11 wins, 13 losses and an ERA of almost 4 over the last four years. Giants have Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner signed to long contracts and they will man the 1st and 2nd spots in the rotation. Ryan Vogelsong has pitched well since returning from the DL and could fill the 3rd spot in the rotation (Giants own his option for 2014). That leaves the 4th and 5th spots in the rotation open. The Giants should be able to find pitchers to fill the backend of the rotation via free agency and the farm system. Brian Sabean will have a tough decision but the statistics and not the fans feelings should tell him to let Lincecum leave via free agency.
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