As discussed earlier on this site, Matt Cain has received a contract extension to pitch for the San Francisco Giants through 2012. It is a decent contract for the team in my eyes, but the contract may have other consequences. Matt Cain’s contract stipulates a salary for 2012 of $15 million. When combined with the team’s existing excruciatingly ugly contract with Barry Zito, the Giants will have roughly $35 million committed to two pitchers for that season. What is the fallout of this extension? Is the future of a certain back-to-back Cy Young award winner up in the air when considering who he’ll pitch for?
Tim Lincecum has been completely dominant over the past couple years, earning two Cy Youngs in his first two 200 innings seasons. He’s also off to a great start on his 2010 campaign as well. His pitching excellence brought out rumors that he would be asking for upwards of $20 million in a historic arbitration request this past off-season. But he and the team settled on a two-year, $23 million contract that would pay him $9 million this season and $14 million in 2011.
Looking forward to 2012, if he continues to dominate opposing hitters, Lincecum could ask for a monumentus figure in arbitration or long-term contract discussions. Even if you were to split his raise from 2010 to 2011 in half and apply it to his 2012 salary, he would be paid $16.5 million. This would mean that the team would have three players earning a total of $51.5 million in 2012. If the team maintained their 2010 opening day payroll of $96,277,833 (Cot’s Baseball Contracts), the three starters would take up over half (53.49%) of the payroll. That would leave roughly $44.8 for the rest of the roster. But if you figure in Brian Wilson’s recent extension, and if Jeremy Affeldt’s option gets picked up, the remaining amount for the rest of the roster would be $31.5 million……ugh!
Unless there are some substantial increases in the team’s payroll over the next couple seasons, someone will likely have to go in order for the team to have ANYassemblance of a offense….or other pitchers for that matter. Although trading Tim Lincecum would be nearly as bad of a PR nightmare as trading Albert Pujols would be to the Cardinals, you have to wonder about GM Brian Sabean’s options. Zito is unmovable and has been since he signed on the dotted line. Cain’s $15 million salary for 2012 does not give much room between his performance and the expected performance of a pitcher earning that figure (FanGraphs gave his production last season a value of $16 million). If Cain regresses, the team may be handcuffed by two large contracts for 2012.
Has Sabean run into a pot o’ gold for the next few seasons?
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