MLB Analysis: Cole Hamels' Agreement is Bad News for Tim Lincecum

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Cole Hamels, who just turned 28-years old on December 27th, avoided salary arbitration with the Philadelphia Phillies by agreeing to a $15 million, one-year deal for 2012. The contract represents a $5.5 million raise for Hamels, who is coming off perhaps the best season of his career. Hamels went 14-9 with a career-low 2.79 ERA and finished fifth in the Cy Young Award voting. The two sides said that they would attempt to work out a long term deal during spring training.

The fact that Hamels agreed to $15 million can’t be good news for Tim Lincecum though. “The Freak”, who will turn 28 on June 15th, asked for $21.5 million in salary arbitration from the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday and was offered $17 million. The thing is, Cole Hamels is arguably better than little Timmy and Hamels only got $15 million!

2011 Stats          ERA     W     L    SO     BB   WHIP    GC

Cole Hamels       2.79     14    9   194     44    .986      3

Tim Lincecum     2.74     13    14  220     86    1.207    1

Hamels and Lincecum are about the same age and pitched about the same number of innings lats year. The two had about the same ERA, and while Lincecum did strike out more batters, the 26 additional strikeouts is far outweighed by the fact that Hamels issued 42 less walks. Hamels averaged less than 1 base runner per inning, an accomplishment achieved by only the truly elite; all while playing in one of the best hitters parks in MLB.

Yes I’m aware that that Lincecum didn’t get any run support last year. According to STATS LLC, the Giants scored no runs while he was in the game in seven of 33 starts, had one run six times and two runs five times. I’m aware of the fact that he won two Cy Young Awards in 2008 and 2009 too; but that’s not going to help him pitch in 2012. In short, for a guy whose averaged 15.5 wins per year, never even having a chance to take the mound for a 20th win in a season, he sure gets a lot of fanfare.

Lincecum will get his money, he deserves it, and he’ll get more than Hamels too, but he’s not $6.5 million better, he’s just not.

San Fran has made no secret about that fact that they would like to lock up both Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum long term. As for signing Lincecum to an extended deal beyond his arbitration eligible years, I wouldn’t do it. I’d let someone else take that risk. He’s averaged more than 220 innings the past four years and has an extremely violent delivery. One year at a time is the best way to go about it with a player like him. At 5′-11″, 165 lbs. with the torque he creates, at any given moment Lincecum could develop arm or back problems, and no one, I repeat no one, would be surprised.

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  • The founder and former owner of MC3 Sports Media, Mike Cardano is the Sr. Business Administrator for RotoExperts and the Executive Director here at You may email Mike @ or follow him on Twitter @MikeCardano. Listen to Mike on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio with Scott Engel and the morning crew Tuesday mornings at 10am ET.


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