Tim Lincecum Wants to Be a Mariner?
mlbtraderumors.com today reports, per Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area, that Tim Lincecum intends to test the free agent market for his services and further speculates that Lincecum may wish to learn of the Seattle Mariners’ interest in him in particular because he is from the Seattle area.
Baggarly’s sources suggest that the Giants talked to Lincecum’s agent about a possible two-year deal and that the team was hoping to get Lincecum re-signed before the end of the World Series — Lincecum and others can declare free agency five days after the series ends. Since Lincecum intends to exercise his free agent option, the Giants plan to make him a $14.1 million qualifying offer to get a draft pick if Lincecum signs elsewhere. The Mariners’ first round pick in 2014 is protected since the M’s finished with one of the worst ten records in baseball this year — they’d lose their second round pick if they sign a free agent whose has refused a qualifying offer.
I can see why Lincecum would have no interest in a two-year deal. As a free agent, Lincecum could almost certainly get a third year on his next contract. mlbtraderumors.com has previously speculated that someone will give Lincecum a three year deal for around $30 million total. In fact, it seems much more likely to me that Lincecum would take the one-year $14.1 million qualifying offer than a two-year deal, because if Lincecum returns to his pre-2012 form in 2014, he’d be set up for a much bigger pay-day after the 2014 season.
In any event, giving Lincecum a qualifying offer seems like a no-brainer to me. The team can well afford a one-year $14.1 million contract, and if Lincecum signs elsewhere, the Giants still get sandwich pick after the first round in the 2014 draft. Like most Giants fans, I’ll be sorry to see Lincecum go, but he really is a question mark going forward.