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Lowell Cohn: Giants overpaid for popular pitcher Tim Lincecum

  • The Giants retained free agent and two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum with a controversially large two-year contract. (BILL KOSTROUN / Associated Press)

It must have been a typographical error, actually two typographical errors. That's what I thought.

The first typographical error: The Giants re-signed Tim Lincecum as a cornerstone of their starting rotation.


The second typographical error: The Giants paid him $35 million for two years.

That's a lot of millions for a guy who lost his fastball years ago, who wants — begs — hitters to swing at junk in the dirt, whose home runs per nine innings went through the roof (out of the ballpark) the past two seasons, who gives up a ton of line drives (you advanced statniks can look it up), whose earned-run average is a disgrace.

For this Lincecum gets 35 big ones and a no-trade clause, too? And cynics say there's no Santa Claus. There sure isn't a sanity clause.

Oh, I'm aware of the pro-Timmy argument. (Isn't he a little old to be Timmy?) He's evolving. He used to be a power pitcher.

“Here's my heat. I dare you to hit it.” Now, he's a finesse pitcher in the Greg Maddux mold. (On that one, seeing is believing.) He's gone from a pure thrower to a craftsman, to a cerebral pitcher — mind over batter and all that folderol.

You think? Take a look at his September starts from the regular season — I've read the Giants paid him the whopper sum based on his last handful of starts.

On Sept. 4, he gave up five runs in 5 1/3 innings to those terrors from San Diego.

That's how a guy gets $35 million?

On Sept. 20, his next-to-last start, he gave up four runs to the Yankees in just over six innings.

This is the stuff of millions?

True, in his final start he did well against the Dodgers — two runs in seven innings. Maybe he earned his contract based on that one start. One thing we know, he gets hit hard when he's in the strike zone and he's basically a six-inning pitcher, if he's lucky.

I wish the Giants were overpaying me. I could get a pied-à-terre on Park Avenue, Manhattan, and a vacation retreat on the French Riviera.

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