Tim Lincecum likely to test free agency

USA TODAY Sports

Despite reports of a two-year offer from the Giants, Lincecum appears headed for the open market.

CSNBayArea.com's Andrew Baggarly reports the right-hander will likely test free agency this winter, assuming no extension is agreed to before the end of the World Series.

Lincecum has thrown over 1400 innings for the Giants since 2007, sporting a 3.46 ERA and 1510 strikeouts during in his career. The Giants drafted him with the 10th overall pick in the 2006 draft, and Lincecum rewarded them with back-to-back NL Cy Young awards in 2008 and 2009. Despite struggling through most of his last two seasons, he remains a fan favorite and a valuable commodity for San Francisco.

Giants GM Brian Sabean appears to have serious interest in retaining Lincecum, as the two-year deal would indicate. The Giants are likely to extend the qualifying offer of $14.1M in an effort to secure a draft pick should Lincecum sign elsewhere. If he thinks he can field multi-year offers, he will likely decline the Giants qualifying offer as well, which would free him up to sign with any team. Baggarly's report doesn't mean the Giants are certain to lose The Freak, but that possibility seems to have grown.

"It's been a really special time here for me."   -Tim Lincecum

McCovey Chronicles' Grant Brisbee doesn't see the news as a surprise, saying Lincecum is simply window shopping and very well may be back with the Giants next season. San Francisco skipper Bruce Bochy has said that he does't even want to talk about the possibility of Lincecum leaving, so it's safe to say there's still a good chance of a return. Still, scouts for the Mariners were preparing for this possibility as they watched Lincecum's final start of the season against the Dodgers. Seattle will probably generate a lot of buzz if Lincecum reaches the market since he was born and raised just outside the city. But he'll probably be more focused on insanely large dollar amounts than checking in on childhood friends.

Lincecum earned $22M in 2013, and it's probably safe to say he's not going to get that kind of payday this offseason. A decline in velocity and his occasionally shaky command have hurt Lincecum in recent seasons, but he still gets a lot of batters out, and he's able to keep the ball out of play often with his continued proclivity for strikeouts. He'll probably be looking for a yearly wage somewhere around the qualifying offer figure (again, $14.1M), but he may take less annually for the sake of longevity. At age 29, he could probably field a few deals in the 4 to 5-year range depending on the total amount, guaranteed money, and whatever bonuses/options are included in the deal. But there's always a wild card GM or two willing to take a hit in the future to secure something of value up front, so there's no telling what his deal may look like at this point.

If Lincecum does hit the market, someone out there could fall in love with his well renowned skill set and give him all the money he needs to feel comfortable leaving the Giants.

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