Thursday, December 29, 2011

Is a long extension for Tim Lincecum a good idea?


One of the big off-season goals of the Giants is lock up their top two pitchers to long term deals. Earlier I took a look at what kind of a deal makes sense for Matt Cain and I did something similar with Tim Lincecum over at Bay Area Sports Guy's site.

The latest rumor about the negotiations is that they are still pretty far apart. Here is what MLB Trade Rumors has on the deal:
A sizable gap still exists between the Giants and arbitration eligible right-hander Tim Lincecum as the sides explore a possible extension, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. Negotiations have taken place this winter, but the sides appear to remain a couple of years and tens of millions of dollars apart.
The more I think about this it might not be a bad idea if the Giants avoid a long term deal with Lincecum. Now before you jump all over me for this blasphemy give me a chance to explain.

While Lincecum is still a very good pitcher the last couple of seasons haven't been on the same level as his Cy Young seasons, he has gone from the best pitcher in baseball to simply just a top 10 pitcher. Yet his asking price is going to be that he is paid as if he still were the best pitcher in baseball.

Since his Cy Young seasons, Lincecum's strikeout rate has dropped every season, his walk rate has risen every season, all the while the innings and pitches thrown have accumulated. I am not saying that he is due for an injury but with pitchers that is always a risk in the back of your mind.

While these are things that make me nervous here is the real problem, I don't see it being very likely that he can live up to the cost of a long term deal.

For this exercise I will have 3 different again assumptions, a optimistic, pessimistic and middle of the road. Here is the way it looks WAR wise through his age 35 season (an eight year deal):


If we use these numbers and assume that WAR is equal to $5 million with 5 percent inflation going into the future these are the values that you would get.

Pessimistic Situation:

Year
WAR
$ WAR
Value
2012
4.5
 $  5.00
 $    22.50
2013
4.1
 $  5.25
 $    21.26
2014
3.6
 $  5.51
 $    20.09
2015
3.3
 $  5.79
 $    18.99
2016
3.0
 $  6.08
 $    17.94
2017
2.7
 $  6.38
 $    16.96
2018
2.4
 $  6.70
 $    16.02
2019
2.2
 $  7.04
 $    15.14
Total Value
 $  148.91
Average Value
 $    18.61

Middle of the Road Situation:

Year
WAR
$ WAR
Value
2012
5.0
 $       5.00
 $    25.00
2013
4.6
 $       5.25
 $    24.28
2014
4.3
 $       5.51
 $    23.58
2015
4.0
 $       5.79
 $    22.91
2016
3.7
 $       6.08
 $    22.25
2017
3.4
 $       6.38
 $    21.61
2018
3.1
 $       6.70
 $    20.99
2019
2.9
 $       7.04
 $    20.38
Total Value
 $  180.99
Average Value
 $    22.62

Optimistic Situation:

Year
WAR
$ WAR
Value
2012
5.5
 $       5.00
 $    27.50
2013
5.2
 $       5.25
 $    27.43
2014
5.0
 $       5.51
 $    27.36
2015
4.7
 $       5.79
 $    27.29
2016
4.5
 $       6.08
 $    27.23
2017
4.3
 $       6.38
 $    27.16
2018
4.0
 $       6.70
 $    27.09
2019
3.8
 $       7.04
 $    27.02
Total Value
 $  218.08
Average Value
 $    27.26

Looking at these numbers it is hard to imagine an eight year deal at the $23 million per year level (same as C.C. Sabathia) working out well for the Giants and if he is looking to be surpass that deal to be among the highest paid pitchers there is almost no upside in the deal for the Giants.

With two more years with the Giants guaranteed I just don't think it makes sense for the team to take on this much risk where there is almost no upside but huge downside. If the team wants to take a gamble with a long term contract for a pitcher go after Madison Bumgarner where there is a good chance that he could provide good surplus value to the team.

Become a fan on Facebook and follow the The Crazy Crabbers on twitter there is lots of good stuff going on there. Sign up for our free newsletter!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post a Comment