Giants' Tim Lincecum finalizes 2-year, $35M deal
Contract includes full no-trade clause, bonuses
Tim Lincecum wants nothing more than to return to his old dominant self in the very place where he has been at his best before.
The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner finalized his $35 million, two-year contract with the San Francisco Giants on Friday after passing a physical. Now, he is ready to get back to work and build toward a comeback season in 2014. He will begin his off-season workout routine in earnest with a training appointment Monday in the Seattle area.
"It gives you that freedom that I've done it with this group before. I feel like we can do it again, and personally I feel like I can succeed there again," Lincecum said. "As a group, I feel like we have the right tools to make another push. Those are the kind of things you look for when going after an organization. When I'm already plugged into one, I don't have to look too far to see what they've done and what I've been able to do with them."
Just as the Giants had hoped, they signed Lincecum before he went on the free-agent market.
Lincecum, who pitched a no-hitter on July 13 at San Diego, reached agreement on the new deal earlier in the week that keeps him with his only major league team through 2015. The contract pays $17 million for next year and $18 million in '15.
Lincecum's contract includes a full no-trade clause. In addition, he can earn an additional $250,000 each for 210 innings pitched and 220 innings.
It gives you that freedom that I've done it with this group before. I feel like we can do it again, and personally I feel like I can succeed there again.- Tim Lincecum
He would earn $500,000 for another Cy Young, $250,000 for second place, $100,000 (third), $75,000 (fourth) and $50,000 (fifth).
If he wins the 2014 Cy Young award, the first-place bonus would increase to $1 million for the following year.
In addition, Lincecum would earn $250,000 for NL MVP with additional bonuses for second through fifth place. He would receive $100,000 for an All-Star selection and $50,000 for a Gold Glove.
Lincecum will get a hotel suite on the road. The contract also calls for him to purchase 25 tickets to each home game for underprivileged children in the Bay Area.
"This was targeted as a baseball signing," CEO Larry Baer said. "This was the right thing for the Giants to keep the rotation strong and keep the team's chances of winning strong. ... Timmy is a very popular guy but I don't want it to be misinterpreted that this was done because he's popular."
He just completed a $40.5 million, two-year contract that paid him $22 million this season.
Given the uncertainty in the rotation, keeping one of the club's most notable faces means a lot to manager Bruce Bochy.
Creature of familiarity
The Giants, who won the World Series in 2010 and again last year, will not exercise left-hander Barry Zito's $18 million option for 2014, and Ryan Vogelsong might not return.
Lincecum said late in the season he is a creature of familiarity and hoped to stay put with San Francisco, which drafted him 10th overall out of Washington in 2006 and quickly promoted him to the majors in May 2007.
He pitched the Game 5 World Series clincher at Texas in 2010, when the Giants captured their first championship since moving West in 1958. Then in 2012, Lincecum moved to the bullpen for the playoffs and emerged as a reliable reliever as San Francisco won another title.
Lincecum — the Cy Young winner in 2008 and '09, when he won 18 and 15 games, respectively — went 10-14 with a 4.37 ERA and 193 strikeouts over 32 starts last year, his third straight season with a losing record.
Still, Lincecum's strides down the stretch to get back to top form were encouraging for the Giants' brass.
"He gave us really positive signs as to what he's capable of doing," assistant general manager Bobby Evans said. "He is an important part of our rotation and we are very pleased to have him back for at least two more years."
The right-hander joined Hall of Famers Juan Marichal and Gaylord Perry, and Kirk Rueter as the only Giants in San Francisco history to win at least 10 games in six straight seasons.
"When your last couple years are a collective 4.50 (ERA), that's not the way you want to go out," Lincecum said. "That's not the guy I am."
The 5-foot-11, 170-pound Lincecum earned the nicknames The Freak and Franchise for his quick rise to the majors and his quirky delivery. A four-time All-Star, he is 89-70 with a 3.46 ERA over seven major league seasons.
There was some thought he might test the open market and at least listen to any offers from his hometown Seattle Mariners.
"Up until this year I hadn't really thought about it. I've always kind of looked at myself as a Giant, even a couple years ago when there were contract talks and two years before that," he said. "Home is always going to be home to me. Maybe I'll look at that route later on in life as a professional place. Personally, I wasn't ready for that kind of jump."
General manager Brian Sabean has now checked off two important items from his to-do list looking forward to what he hopes is a comeback year for the club in 2014. In late September, the Giants signed right fielder Hunter Pence to a $90 million, five-year contract before the season ended. He played every game this year.
Zito, who recently took out a full-page newspaper ad thanking Giants fans, will be due a $7 million buyout as he departs following a $126 million, seven-year contract. The move will be made formal at the conclusion of the World Series.
Now, San Francisco has a rotation led by Lincecum, Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner.
"When you have staples in a rotation like this, mainstay guys who have come up through the organization, myself, Cain and Bummy, that's a pretty good collective group of guys to base your rotation off of," Lincecum said. "I know that I haven't had the greatest year, but I've got to go in with confidence knowing that I'm going to get back to where I need to be. That's pretty much my mindset right now."