Now the two-time National League Cy Young award winner wants to be paid like it.
The 25-year-old right-hander asked his team for $21.5 in salary arbitration Tuesday — a notable bump up from the $17 million the Giants put on the table.
San Francisco’s offer is the highest ever, exceeding the $14.25 million the New York Yankees offered to star shortstop Derek Jeter in 2001. The largest ever proposed arbitration number from a player came from Roger Clemens, who in 2005 asked the Houston Astros for $22 million. Lincecum earned $13.1 million last season in the final season of a two-year contract, a deal finalized before Lincecum’s arbitration hearing before the 2010 season.
“I’m optimistic that we’ll find common ground without a hearing room,” Giants vice president of baseball operations Bobby Evans said before seeing Lincecum’s request. “It’s a process that begins long before today in terms of conversations about possible deals that work for both sides. That process has continued in a mutual fashion. At this point we haven’t reached a conclusion.”
Lincecum has been the linchpin to San Francisco’s top-notch rotation over the last several years, compiling a 69-41 career record with a 2.98 ERA and 9.9 strikeouts/9 innings ratio. But the man they call ‘The Freak’ could use a little more support from his teammates. Despite a 2.74 ERA in 2011, Lincecum finished with his first losing record (13-14). In seven of his 33 starts the Giants produced zero runs, while in 11 others they managed only one or two, according to STATS LLC .
One key cog in the Giants’ sometimes-anemic offense is third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who on Tuesday agreed to a three-year, $17.15 million contract to stay by the bay. Sandoval dropped nearly 40 pounds before last season and it paid off in the form of a .315 average with 23 home runs and 70 RBIs and an All-Star nod.
The Giants also avoided arbitration with outfielders Melky Cabrera and Nate Schierholtz and relief pitcher Santiago Casilla by signing all three to one-year contracts. The Giants also agreed to a one-year, $4.85 million deal with outfielder Angel Pagan. The team expects to have a payroll around $130 million this season.
In all, 79 players agreed to contracts across the league on Tuesday while 54 others exchanged arbitration numbers with their respective teams.
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