Last week the San Francisco Giants avoided arbitration by signing Tim Lincecum to a two-year contract worth $23 million.
In case you're scoring at home, that's a cool $11.5 million for each of Timmy's Cy Young Awards.
Even though Lincecum just earned himself a hefty raise, he still is one of the best bargains in baseball. Lincecum's average win-loss record in the majors is 15-6, and that's including his rookie campaign in which he went 7-5 over 24 starts.
If you project those numbers over the next three years, Lincecum will own a career record of 100-41 with an ERA of 2.90 after the completion of the 2013 season, which happens to be when Lincecum can become a free agent.
Lincecum in all likelihood will receive one more contract from the Giants before he reaches free agency and it's safe to assume it will be substantially more than the $23 million he signed for recently. The huge question mark for the Giants is if they can afford to make a competitive offer to retain Lincecum after he files for free agency.
Assuming Lincecum ends the 2013 season with a gaudy 100-41 career record and is still embarrassing hitters on a regular basis, the bidding war for his services could get rather out of hand. The good news for Giants fans is that Barry Zito's gargantuan $126 million contract expires in 2013; the bad news is that Zito's contract will likely be surpassed by the deal Lincecum earns. There is the potential for historically huge numbers, both in terms of wins and millions for Lincecum.
To put Lincecum's projected 100-41 record after 2013 in context, Greg Maddux was 75-64 after six years in the majors, Dwight Gooden was 100-39—damn, he was SO good—and Roger Clemens was 95-45. Lincecum is an immense talent that will earn himself quite the payday as a free agent and, assuming his back doesn't snap like a twig, will likely earn himself a spot in Cooperstown.
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