San Francisco’s ace has arguably been the face of the franchise and most important player over the past few seasons.
The Giants built a championship team around their pitching staff in 2010. The same staff allowed them to stay in contention for most of this season, despite arguably the worst offense in the league.
A disappointing 2011 for San Francisco establishes a dire need to bolster the offense, which will be an important task this winter. However, the results also point out just how good their pitching really is.
Tim Lincecum leads the staff with a 2.74 ERA, ranking fourth in the NL and is third in the league in strikeouts.
Despite another successful season, the 27-year-old right-hander will finish 13-14 this year. He made his final start of the season against the 2011 NL West champion Arizona Diamondbacks, in an failed effort to finish another quality season with out a losing record.
Lincecum is eligible for arbitration until he is a free agent at the end of the 2013 season. He has made statements indicating that he prefers the idea of a short-term deal. However, San Francisco knows how important their “Freak” is and should want to lock him down to a long-term contract.
Here are four ways the Giants can keep the two-time Cy Young winner their ace for the long run.