With all respect to Tom Petty, whose tune I modified to get the title this week, there has been a lot of talk and speculation and consternation regarding this week's signing of Tim Lincecum for two years and $35 million.
I like Timmy. I got to score his very first start back in 2007 and have probably worked at least 30 of his starts over the years, so I am used to seeing Tim's motion, deliver, velocity, success, and over the past couple of years, lack thereof.
Personally, I think no matter how much I like Lincecum, enjoy watching him when he is on, and want him to do well, he is not worth that much money.
While it is true that the new contract is a drop of about $5 million a year over what Lincecum was making, there has been discussion about whether the right-hander was getting this deal more for what he has done than what he can do for the Giants.
The truth is for me that professional sports salaries all seem like funny money to me anyway.
In fact, if we look at the highest paid pitchers in the Majors in 2013, most of them are established stars at the tail ends of their careers.
- Cliff Lee ($25 million)
- Johan Santana ($24.644 million)
- C.C. Sabathia ($23 million)
- Tim Lincecum ($22.5 million)
- Zack Greinke ($22 million)
- Matt Cain ($20.833 million)
- Cole Hamels ($20.5 million)
- Justin Verlander ($21.1 million)
- Roy Halladay ($20 million)
- Barry Zito ($20 million)
Aside from it being kind of scary that the Giants already had $73.2 million tied up in three of the top 10, none of whom was particularly effective in 2013.
Furthermore, among this list, only Cain and Lincecum are under 30 (each turns 30 in 2014), and Santana, Halladay and Zito are not even guaranteed a rotation gig in the coming season, while only Greinke really earned his salary last year, and that was for a 15-4, 2.73 mark over 28 starts and 177.2 innings.
All of this makes me wonder just what owners are thinking, or paying for, when they hand out the big bucks like this.
I did hear local radio guy Greg Papa the other day dismissing stat heads, and noting what we had to do was "watch Tim pitch" in order to understand the deal.
Well, Greg, I have. And, with Lincecum, as with Matt Cain, what I have seen of late are good pitchers who no longer seem to be able to put away hitters with their best stuff.
If they could, they would not have allowed nearly half the homers of their respective careers over the last two seasons. As in Lincecum allowed 44 of the 110 dingers over the past seven years over 2012-13, while Cain also surrendered 44 over the past two years. What is odd is that in 2011 Cain only allowed nine big flies, while over 2008-09 again it was 44.
Mind you, I have no problem with the success of these guys or capitalism or the essence of what makes our country and economy go, but there is something wrong here with the system.
As I believed back during the last labor dispute, we--and basically I mean baseball management--is really doing this the wrong way. And, if you think I am wrong here, answer this question: Does Tim get $35 million for what SF thinks he will do the next two years based upon what he did the last two? Or, are they paying him for being so good for the five years before that, and simply hoping he will sort of return to form?
But, if you are not sure where the dollars for past performance end, and hopeful future performance begins, then I guess you are smarter than me.
I think it is time to change how players are compensated, and I think the solution would be to simply pay a lump sum--maybe a billion dollars for a season, and though I made that figure up, it would be negotiable over some period of years--and then the Players Union gets to figure out how to distribute the proceeds.
Teams could still draft, and there would be the same rules about free agency. There could even be incentives for players to stay with the team that drafted them.
OK, so maybe the above suggestion is not perfect, although with any idea you have to start somewhere.
But, it is ridiculous.
Don't you think?