Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Hot Stove Update: Giants Sign Timmy!

Just when it looked like the Giants and Tim Lincecum were going to be doing the QO Kabuki Dance, the announcement that they got him signed for 2 years/$35 M comes out.  OK, there is absolutely no point in going through any WAR analysis on this one.  In terms of performance over the last 2 years, this was a gross overpay.  The Giants obviously think Timmy has shown signs of improvement and can be a better pitcher over the next 2 years than he has been for the last two.  He has been a huge part of their success over the last 4 seasons and the fanbase still thinks he can walk on water.  The Giants wanted to keep Timmy and did not want to mess around.  

Say what you will about the RDF and the Giants cheap owners.  They do NOT cheap out when it comes to signing the guys they want.  Larry Baer addressed the overpay issue with Kruk and Kuip on the TV broadcast after the Hunter Pence deal went down.  He said the Giants are a classy organization and they do not play games with the players they want.  They would rather make the players feel like they are really wanted than to feel like the Giants chiseled them down to the lowest number of dollars they could.  That's great as long as overpays do not keep them from acquiring other players they need to compete.  So far, there has not been an example of such a contract, even Zito's and Rowand's!

In his end-of-season State of the Giants press conference, Brian Sabean said that his priorities were 1. Re-sign Hunter Pence.  2.  Re-sign Tim Lincecum.  3.  Acquire another starting pitcher irrespective of what would happen with Timmy's contract.  4.  Improve team depth particularly LF.   I believe re-signing Javier Lopez is also a priority.  I think we can expect something on that front before FA kicks in now that Timmy is off the table.  Brian Sabean may keep his own council when he is working on trades and draft picks, but when he goes on record with a priority, you can usually take it to the bank.  He has now made good on his first 2 priorities.  I believe there is a high probablilty he will make good on the rest of it too.  If history is any guide, we won't have to wait long to find out.


  1. Thank god it's only two years. Thank god it ain't my money.

    I can think of many reasons why to like/hate this deal, but one of them won't be watching Timmy take the mound every five days. Always enjoyed his starts, until the sixth inning.

    More Happy Lincecum Days, please.

    Don't know how much upside Timmy has in him...while there seems to be plenty of downside.

    Time to grow the hair out again, no FA year to worry about.

    1. That might be a bit harsh on Timmy. He was very inconsistent again this year, even in his final 10 games of the season. I do think he kept himself in much better shape, pitched into some bad luck(partly of his own making), and made some progress adjusting to his new, lower velocity. It is clearly an overpay and not by a small amount, but I think there is at least an even chance that he pitches much better in 2014.

    2. DocB, I agree, and have said so on this very blog, that in 2013 Timmy had established a base foundation of fitness, had to relearn his mechanics and had to learn how to pitch with lower velocity.

      I do think he can pitch better in 2104. My definition of better being consistent QS and getting past the sixth inning. And avoiding the killer big inning, that he can't close out. And stop giving up key hits to opposing pitchers. And field his position without brain cramps. Timmy has lost a lot of ugly, bullpen taxing games for the Giants this way over the past two years.

      However, I still think there is more downside lurking out there, than upside. We can all be hopeful but Timmy's record for the past two years has not shown me that he can consistently put it all together again. Let's hope he does.

    3. If they have the money, who are we to argue if they slot Timmy at number 4, start Cain at number 3 and allow Matt to prove us wrong, while going out on the open market trading or paying for a solid #2? We will then see what to do for a number 5.

    4. Oh, there is definitely downside here. It was a huge overpay for the production he has given and a huge gamble that he will recover at least some of the old magic. A lot depends on the rest of the offseason. If Sabes can still go out and get an upgrade pitcher on the FA or trade market and can still add a LF with some HR power, then who cares how much they're paying Timmy? If the Giants start the season with Vogey at a reduced rate and Petit in the #4 and #5 SP slots, along with a Blanco/Perez platoon in LF, then I think we'd have to say the Giants overpaid for Tim and could have used the money to get more value somewhere else.

      And yeah, I'm very glad it is not for more than 2 years. I would have preferred just 1.

  2. overspent, but given that no farm hands will be ready till 15 and giants dont wanna get into bidding war for the fa talent that is pretty avg...they had to do it

    and timmy sells junk...even with short hair

    now, how do with get the curse of the kardashians out of the belle?


    1. That's the Kurse of the Kardashian's, Bacci. Gotta get it right! Yeah, I'm a bit worried about that too.

      Actually, my younger daughter noticed that Momma K seems to have a newfound crush on Larry Baer. Now THAT worries me! Stay away, Larry!

    2. Kurse of the Kardadashians?

    3. Yup and that thing Momma K has for Larry? That would be a Krush!

  3. I for one, am pleased to see the Giants make the commitment. I do expect to see a much better year from Timmy in 14.
    A healthy roster and another starter, bodes well fro cautious optomism.
    Oh yeah Good luck Cardinals. Thanks for spanking the Dodgers and making Kershaw look human.
    Good luck Dodgers with a $300 million dollars pitcher.
    Hope he doesn't get hurt in a swimming pool the winter.

    Richard in Winnipeg

  4. Would have preferred one year, and would have preferred a bit less money. Of course, they were at 14mm on the QO, so you're really looking at a 2-3mm over pay. As much as I don't like it, in that context it isn't horrible. And a 2-3mm over pay isn't going to keep them from getting others, especially when they have $12mm of Zito money off the books, as well as Vogie's option and still another $3mm or so from Timmy's old contract. Including Pence's new deal, and escalations, I think they're in good shape financially.

    I would like to see them sign Petit and give him Chaudin's long relief. Then give Surkamp and Escobar the shot at replacing Zito. At that point, we're down to one FA and that is doable.

    As for LF, don't see an upgrade. Abreu was the only shot we really had, with Belt moving there, and frankly I like Belt at 1b.

    I still think next year will be much better:

    a) Panda's contract year
    b) Sanchez should be more of a factor
    c) Belt hopefully finally gets it
    d) Pagan

    Doyers scare me a bit, but I think next year the chickens come home to roost and we start seeing what happens when all the egos start flying.


    1. They control Petit, so no need to sign him. And I would let him battle for that last #5 starter spot, with the others. I like the Hughes option that Shankbone and DrB has been championing for.

      2014 should be better, if only because you shouldn't have half the lineup either out with injury or playing with injury affecting performance.

  5. I'm not really excited about this signing. I understand it but it's a lot of money for a guy who was one of the worst pitchers in the league most of the season. The thing about Timmy that bothers me the most is not the drop in velocity but the control issues. He obviously still has enough stuff to get guys out but those mistakes over the middle of the plate burn him every time. I'm not sure it is something he can correct either but hopefully I'm wrong.

    My guess is that the Giants are doing everything they can to not have to sign a FA that will require them to give up their 1st round draft pick. This would make sense if they actually had a clue how to draft when they don't have a pick inside the top 10! By keeping guys like Timmy and Pence they will be able to sell the fans on not getting a high priced FA and not having to give up that pick.

    The problem with this philosophy is that it was proven last year that it didn't work. Where are they expecting to find the difference makers next season when we are basically bringing back the same guys who led us to a 76 and 86 season? I think it is wishful thinking to expect anything more than what we got the last 2 years out of Timmy, Cain had a down year and could bounce back but could also continue to slide, Voggie isn't the answer, Gaudin was lightning in a bottle so good luck getting it again, which altogether makes for a shaky rotation which needs to be solid for us to have a shot. Scutaro is older, Blanco in LF was a failure last year, the Brandons are ok but not great, and Pence is streaky like a pair of tiddy whities after lunch at the all you can eat mexican buffet. Panda and Pagan aren't exactly safe bets either and Posey crumbled under the pressure of being the only bat in the lineup most of the year. So how is this team going to improve over last year is the question?

    1. First of all, the group that went 76-86 is essentially the same group that won the WS in 2012, so yeah, things can change a lot from 1 year to the next. I think there is a reasonable expectation of improvement from multiple players who had down years in 2013, which had a lot to do with the long postseason and short offseason, IMO.

      Secondly, Sabes has said that the Giants are going to bring in a pitching upgrade over an above re-signing Timmy. When Sabes makes a pronouncement like that he generally delivers. I don't know how much of a priority upgrading LF is. Sabes did acknowledge a need there when a reporter included it in a list of priorities. It's not going to be that easy to upgrade on a WAR of 2.8 that Blanco put up last year.

      So come on, Pato! Don't get your dauber down!!

    2. I do agree that the Giants, as they stand right now, are not a top team. They proved that last year. If they want to improve next season, it needs to start this winter. By April, we will ideally be able to look at the sum of Sabean's offseason moves and believe the team will be stronger when it takes the field than it was when it left it this year. That improvement also needs to come from within, as DrB noted earlier. If Posey, Pablo and Belt all have down years, there probably won't be any playoffs... that's obvious, and it's a little ridiculous to point out every little thing that went wrong this year and assume it will go wrong next year too. As long as Sabean solidifies that rotation (which he said he would), I will have no beef. A franchise that wins two titles in 3 years doesn't lay down... it reloads!

    3. I disagree, the Giants are a top team. All they proved last season was that a team can be brought done by injuries to half their lineup (Pagan, Scutaro, Sandoval, Crawford, then also Torres because of the Pagan injury) pushing players out or playing poorly with injury. Plus issues with half of the starting rotation (Cain, Vogelsong, Zito). Still, the offense, when healthy in April and September, won at a 92-win season rate, even with the poor pitching of Vogelsong and Zito. But that doesn't mean that there isn't room for improvement, and the rotation is a clear area where we all are hoping to see some action on the part of the FO.

      There is no reason to go out and get a difference maker when you are the defending champs. Besides which, I didn't see any difference maker out there that off-season, better than Pagan, Scutaro, or in LF.

      Lincecum should be better. He came in weak in 2012, took him half the season to get into shape, then he led the rotation in ERA until his stamina went out in his last couple of starts. He had a short off-season in 2013, still came in a bit out of condition, he was not that good the first two months, then he was 4 ERA the rest of the season after that point, 3.83 if you wipe the no-hitter and disaster start after he flung 140+ pitches and rested 9 days. He also added 40 points to his ERA due to inherited runners scoring willing nilly off of the relievers, so that would drop his last four months of pitching into the mid-3's, which is what he needs to do in order to earn his contract. He should hopefully come into camp in 2014 in his best condition of the past few years, plus helped by his newfound religion of studying hitters before games so that he should make less mistakes in location in-game. He just needs to stop the slow starts.

      Cain was not the same after his Perfecto. His DOM% was in the 60-80's before that, but for roughly a year of starts after that game, he was at roughly 40%, good but not the great that we expected. But somewhere around mid-season, he started flinging PQS starts again at his old rate. That plus the longer off-season makes me think that he's not only back already - the quality of his starts was greatly improved in the last few months - but will also be doing it next season.

      Scutaro was older last season too and hit well when healthy. Heck he was older in 2012 too, that didn't stop him from hitting. Complain about it enough, you'll be right eventually, though.

      What is only OK about what Belt did last season? Even if you go by this batting line, he had a great season. Plus his season went from great to stupendous when he finally made the grip change the Giants had been on him to do for a long time. Hard to take any comment serious when there is any complaints about Belt.

      What Posey crumbled under was being used too much at catcher in the first half of the season, when Hanchez wasn't available and Quoroz was, he played a lot more games catching in 2013 than he had in 2012. He also admitted that he was not in good enough shape to last deep into the season, and said that he's working on that this off-season.

      Pato's dauber's been down for years, though, I don't recall it ever being up, even during the past few years when we won the championships.

  6. Wow..I'm kinda on the fence on this one....Yes, we overpaid but that's neither here nor there..15/15 vs 17/18 mil, what' the diff.?...The question is whether he should have been re-signed at all...Part of me believes he turned the corner last season and while playing on a short term contract, will be worth the money...There is also the chance that he can be converted to a reliever if the Giants ever traded Romo or there as a significant injury.....However, part of me believes we just spent 35 mil on an average 4th starter which would be a horrible use of resources.....Sabean is sticking his neck out with this decision.....

    How far he is sticking his neck out depends on who the other starter is that he brings in..Ultimately, fans won't care about the money, but they will care about the wins and losses...So,.Whoever it is, has to be as good or better than what they expect out of Lincecum ..FA?Trade? International? I have no clue..All I know is it better not be timmy and Vogelsong at 3 and 4....Going further, I think they should just forget about Vogey unless they can sign him at a much lower contract to fight for the 5th rotation spot along with kids and other vets..

    Should be pretty interesting the next few months as Sabean still has some heavy lifting to do in picking up a 3rd starter and a starting 1B/OF...Anything less and the moves to sign Pence and Lince were foolish...


  7. Interesting points. I like it. Only 2 years. Like Doc sez, Sabes should get a #3 SP. I'm pulling for Tanaka-san. Kampai! Hate to disagree with my Winterpeg friend Richard, but I am pulling for the BoSox. HT to StL for dispatching the hated Bums, but the Cards are #2 behind the two LA teams in my dislike list. Ozzie cheap shot on Will back in 87. Halliday on Scuts last year. l Iike Descalso (fellow Aggie alum) & Matheny, but Pedroia is a Woodlander like me, so go Boston Strong!


    1. Yeah, I'm rooting for the Red Sox too, too much history of bad blood with the Cards to root for them except against the Dodgers. I would add in losing in that fashion in the 1987 playoffs, plus Krukow getting injured in a rhubarb against them (though that's on him too, he jumped into it) and hurting our chances another season. They also forced us to pay more for Scutaro last off-season with their big offer and they grabbed Wacha just before the Giants was going to draft him.

      I would have preferred Indians against Pirates, but that's is way far under the bridge...