Friday was an important day for many of Major League Baseball’s top stars. The deadline for teams and arbitration-eligible players to submit salary figures passed at 1 p.m. ET.
Some of those stars, such as Mookie Betts, Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger, avoided arbitration by agreeing to massive one-year deals. Others, like George Springer, failed to settle. That means he could end up having his case decided by a judge next month.
Once upon a time, that was the scenario Tim Lincecum faced after failing to reach an agreement with the San Francisco Giants. As former teammate Kevin Frandsen revealed in an interview with MLB Network Radio on Saturday, Lincecum planned a spectacular pitch that forced the Giants to fold before any words needed to be said.
According to Frandsen, Lincecum “Walked into the courtroom with both Cy Young Awards, they never even started talking — it was signed, sealed and delivered right there. I think it was a two-year deal, right there.”
Two years, $23 million to be exact.
Lincecum, who was fresh off back-to-back Cy Young Awards, was asking San Francisco for a then-record $13 million deal for a first-time arbitration eligible pitcher. The Giants countered with $8 million. That large a difference almost always requires a judge’s decision. But when Lincecum pulled the double Cy Young card, the Giants instantly surmised they’d be on the wrong side of that ruling.
A compromise that tilted in Lincecum’s favor was quickly reached. Lincecum signed for the $8 million San Francisco offered in year one, but also added a second season worth the $13 million he sought plus a $2 million signing bonus.
It turned out that wasn’t the worst deal for San Francisco, either. Lincecum would put up All-Star numbers in both seasons, while leading the Giants to a World Series championship in 2010. Lincecum earned $75 million over the following four seasons, but didn’t have nearly the same level of success.
Regardless of the direction his career took later on, bringing his Cy Young Awards to the arbitration hearing was a boss move that only adds to Lincecum’s fascinating legacy.
Tim Lincecum got his way in an arbitration case against the San Francisco Giants after bringing his Cy Young Awards to the courtroom. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)
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