Lincecum files for arbitration; Giants may make record offer

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Lincecum files for arbitration; Giants may make record offer

San Francisco Giants ace Tim Lincecum headed 142 players filing for arbitration on Friday and is set to ask for a record salary when figures are exchanged next week.The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner made 13.1 million last season, completing a two-year deal worth 23.2 million.The highest figure ever asked for in arbitration is 22 million, submitted by Houston pitcher Roger Clemens in 2005 after he became a free agent and accepted arbitration. Among players with less than six years of major league service, the high of 18.5 million has been held by Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter since 2001.
San Francisco figures to give Lincecum the highest offer for an arbitration player, topping the 14.25 million the Yankees submitted for offered Jeter.

Most players settle before a hearing Jeter agreed to a 189 million, 10-year contract, and Clemens accepted a one-year deal for 18,000,022.Others set to swap figures Tuesday include NL Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw and Los Angeles Dodgers teammate Andre Ethier, Philadelphia pitcher Cole Hamels, World Series star Mike Napoli of Texas and Chicago Cubs pitcher Matt Garza.Also in arbitration are three former free agents who accepted offers from their olds teams: Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz, Milwaukee reliever Francisco Rodriguez and Toronto second baseman Kelly Johnson.San Diego has the most players who filed with 11. The Chicago White Sox are the only team without any.Lincecum is 69-41 with a 2.98 ERA in five major league seasons and in 2010 helped the Giants win their first World Series title since 1954. He would be 29 when he becomes eligible for free agency after the 2013 season.While he was just 13-14 last year, his 2.74 ERA was fifth-best in the NL. The Giants scored no runs while he was in the game in seven of 33 starts, had one run six times and two runs five times, according to STATS LLC.Atlanta outfielder Martin Prado became the first player who filed to reach an agreement, getting a 4.75 million, one-year deal.Three players who had been eligible for arbitration agreed to one-year contracts: Phillies right-hander Kyle Kendrick (3,585,000), Boston Red Sox outfielder Ryan Sweeney (1.75 million) and Pittsburgh right-hander Chris Resop (850,000).Among free agents, shortstop Jack Wilson decided to stay with the Braves for a 1 million, one-year deal.

Why you shouldn't freak out in June about Cueto's opt-out

Why you shouldn't freak out in June about Cueto's opt-out

SAN FRANCISCO — There’s a very important fact you need to keep in mind when talk of Johnny Cueto’s opt-out comes up, as it so often will over the next six weeks: The Giants always expected him to opt-out after this season, from the moment the ink was dry on the six-year, $130-million contract. 

When you sign at the top of your game and have a chance to hit the market at 31 years old and cash out a second time, you take it. Those are just the rules of professional sports. On the day Cueto was introduced, his agent, Bryce Dixon, said the two-year opt-out was important because they felt Cueto didn’t get a totally fair shot at free agency. 

“Johnny, a little bit unfairly, had a lot of questions about his arm,” Dixon said in December of 2015. “I felt we could reestablish his actual value … He knows he’s as good as (David) Price and (Zack) Greinke, but his situation was a little different.”

The Giants were fine with this, too. The flip side of the opt-out is that if you have the chance to pay a dominant right-hander $46 million over two years, and then escape his mid- to late-thirties, you do it. Every time. You don’t even blink. 

So, here we are, in June of the second year of that deal, with reports that Cueto will opt out. You should take a deep breath because you should have already expected this. But if you didn’t, take comfort in this: By all indications, Cueto has not made a decision, even with the Giants having an unimaginably poor season. 

First of all, Cueto can't make a decision in June. What if the blisters return and he repeats his April ERA a couple more times? What if his elbow starts barking? There are no guarantees with pitchers, and until Cueto gets through the second season, there will be no finality with his decision. 

Aside from the fact that he really can’t make that decision, though, sources insist Cueto hasn’t made up his mind or even thought much about it. People familiar with his thinking continue to say the focus has been baseball all season long, from spring training through his last start. 

Cueto is said to be happy in San Francisco and he enjoys pitching in front of the crowd at AT&T Park. His biggest concern has been wins and losses, and in that respect, this has been a disappointing year for all involved. 

That record has brought the Giants to a crossroads, and this is where it gets interesting. The easy solution is to trade Cueto next month, avoid the opt-out situation entirely, and add prospects to a system lacking them. But, it’s complicated. The Giants do not intend a full teardown, and if they’re going for it again in 2018 — with their core of Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford, Madison Bumgarner, etc. locked in, that’s the plan — they’ll want that second ace at the top of the rotation. And if Bumgarner doesn’t return to form after an injury, they’ll need Cueto’s presence. 

The Giants have until July 31 to decide what to do with Cueto. He has until three days after the World Series ends to decide what to do with his contract. Here in June, by all indications, those decisions haven’t been made. 

Giants lineup: Pence hitting third, Panik back into two-hole

Giants lineup: Pence hitting third, Panik back into two-hole

Clutch, late-game hitting by Hunter Pence has propelled him to the three hole as the Giants look to bounce back vs the Braves. Bruce Bochy has released the rest of his lineup for Game 2 of the series...

San Francisco Giants:
1. Kelby Tomlinson (R) 3B
2. Joe Panik (L) 2B
3. Hunter Pence (R) RF
4. Buster Posey (R) 1B
5. Austin Slater (R) LF
6. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
7. Nick Hundley (R) C
8. Gorkys Hernandez (R) CF
9. Matt Cain (R) P

Atlanta Braves:
1. Ender Inciarte (L) CF
2. Brandon Phillips (R) 2B
3. Nick Markakis (L) RF
4. Matt Kemp (R) LF
5. Matt Adams (L) 1B
6. Kurt Suzuki (R) C
7. Dansby Swanson (R) SS
8. Johan Camargo (S) 3B
9. Jaime Garcia (L) P