Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle thinks the Giants’ tw0-year $23 million is a contract that will keeping on giving to the Giants even after the two years is up, because the Giants have kept his 2010 and 2011 salaries down, which will be the starting point for what Lincecum can get in 2012 and 2013, the last two years he’ll be under team control but arbitration eligible.
I don’t fully agree. This contract will help the Giants after if expires if Lincecum underperforms or gets hurt. However, if he continues to pitch the way he has so far, or even if he simply remains one of MLB’s top twenty starters in 2010 and 2011, the amounts that Lincecum will command in will be set by the amounts received by the likes of C. C. Sabathia, Johan Santana and Barry Zito, and also the huge contract extensions Felix Hernandez and Justin Verlander just signed.
It’s also a good bet than in February 2012, the national economy and players’ salaries are going to be much better than they are today.
SI.com’s Chris Corcoran basically agrees with me. He thinks that it’s a great deal for the Giants (and for the other teams, who now don’t have to worry that Lincecum might well have been awarded the $13 million he was seeking in arbitration), but that it won’t have much effect after the two years expires if Lincecum continues to be an ace.
Corcoran’s article also analyzes why Lincecum may have left money on the table, and he makes some good points. It’s well worth reading.