Daily Scoop (cont.)
No quick contract for Tim Terrific
The Giants told star pitcher Tim Lincecum they'd like to talk about a multiyear deal at some point. But there's no indication this will go quickly, or easily.
If the Giants want to cite Cole Hamels' team-friendly $20.5-million, three-year contract, and it's very likely they do, it's not going to be met with a positive reaction. Hamels' deal, which is to pay him $4 million this year in the first year he was arbitration eligible, seems to fit the salary aberration whereby relievers get paid better than starters when it comes to first-year eligibles (while Jonathan Papelbon got $6.25 million and Bobby Jenks $5.6 million, Dontrelle Willis still holds the record for starters at a much lower $4.35 million). Lincecum is looking to be a breakthrough player, and he's got a shot at it.
There's no reason starters should be paid less than relievers since they are valued higher in every other year. This should be considered a fluke, but it's also a fluke that set a dumb precedent.
In any case, Lincecum is a special case. Forget his first two starts in which he's posted a 0-1 record and 7.56 ERA. He suffered from a stomach virus late in spring that's set him back, and he'll very likely be back to his true self soon.
And what if he repeats last year's superb performance? If Lincecum can approximate what he did last year, rather than Hamels' bargain $4-million figure, the Giants might be looking at something closer Hamels' teammate Ryan Howard's $10-million salary in his first year of eligibility. Howard's breakthrough figure was won by agent Casey Close, who argued that Howard had reached "special accomplishment'' status (it's the same way Close won $5 million for Derek Jeter a decade earlier), a recognized category that applies to especially high achievers. Lincecum's agent Rick Thurman of the Beverly Hills Sports Council certainly could have a very strong case with Lincecum.
White Sox not interested in available Rowand
Lincecum became the second youngest pitcher ever to win the Cy Young award last year (Roger Clemens was the youngest) and fourth ever to win the award in his first full season (following Dwight Gooden, Bret Saberhagen and Clemens). If he goes back-to-back -- and don't put it past him, despite his slow start -- the Giants will be lookin
There's little doubt the Giants would love someone to take Aaron Rowand off their hands, but that's a major long shot. A Giants person told me in spring training, "Rowand needs to kick it into gear,'' and while Rowand is off to a nice start, betting .375 so far, that $60-million, five-year contract of his is out of whack.
The likelihood of finding a taker for Rowand appears extremely slim, unless, that is, the Giants want to pitch in, say $36 million, of it. And there's no shot of that.
As for the rumor that the White Sox would get involved again, people familiar with the situation say Rowand isn't what they're looking for. Their hope would be to find a young leadoff type for center field, so Rowand doesn't fit at all.
Around the Majors
David Wright "looks quicker than ever,'' according to one scout. "I don't know what he did in the offseason, but he appears to be moving his feet better and have better agility.''
The question now is whether Gary Sheffield, who has 499 home runs, ever gets to homer No. 500. He was allegedly brought in to "light a fire'' under Ryan Church. But it's clear now he's no threat to take over anyone's job. Jerry Manuel's plan is supposedly to get him starts to "keep him sharp.'' Yet, that would indicate a sharpness to begin with, something that's not in evidence.
It's always nice to see the Mets' one true Hall of Famer, Tom Seaver, come back to Flushing. But just so everyone understands, he's paid for these appearances.
Chris Carpenter is indispensable for the Cardinals. Thus, his absence could be a big blow. It's a plus that it isn't an arm injury sidelining him. But those obliques can be tricky.
Folks are going to claim the WBC is to blame for the shoulder weakness that has Daisuke Matsuzaka on the disabled list. But in reality, Matsuzaka threw tens of thousands of pitches in Japan before he ever became a Red Sox, and who's to say his abnormally high pitch counts for more than a decade wasn't going to take a toll eventually?
If the Rangers can stay in it with their great lineup, they might make things interesting. The plan is to call upon pitching prospects Derek Holland and Neftali Feliz once they get more seasoning and show they're ready to help. Both are candidates to come up in coming months, especially if Texas shows it has a shot.
Seattle never should have lost 100 games last year. New manager Don Wakamatsu may be doing a very nice job. But that isn't a terrible team, and it wasn't last year either, at least not in terms of talent. It had to be the clubhouse last year, like J.J. Putz suggested.
Milton Bradley hurt ... shocking.
MLB Truth & Rumors