The San Francisco Giants had plenty go wrong in 2013 after winning the World Series in convincing fashion in 2012. Their rotation was not as solid as it had been in recent memory, with guys like Ryan Vogelsong and Matt Cain finishing with 5.73 and 4.00 ERAs respectively, and their inability to score runs finally came back to bite them.
There were some positives, however, as the Giants were able to lock up Hunter Pence, whom many believe was pivotal in their World Series win in 2012. He will give them some protection for Buster Posey as well as some offensive stability to build around. Throw in Brandon Belt, who finally seems as though he is coming around offensively with his .289/.360/.481 slash line, and the Giants look like they are poised to bounce back in 2014.
One glaring negative was the fact that Tim Lincecum continued to fall off the face of the earth, slowly and painfully. The former back to back Cy Young award winner continued his free fall, finishing 10-14 with a 4.37 ERA, bringing his ERA up to 4.76 for the past two seasons after averaging a very nice 3.05 ERA up until 2012.
Before 2012, when Lincecum finished with a 5.18 ERA, his highest career single-season ERA was 4.00 in his rookie season. He had never come close to that in the years following. Lincecum seemed he was poised for a one-year, incentive-laden deal with a team where he would have to battle for a rotation or perhaps even a bullpen spot. So naturally, the Giants give him a two-year, $35 million contract.
Um, what? Sure, Lincecum lowered his ERA a bit from 2012 to 2013, but really, if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it’s not a warthog.
Lincecum has given absolutely no indication he is any closer to turning things around than he was in 2012. He started 2013 nicely with a 3.64 ERA in April, which he followed with a 6.37 ERA in May, and pretty much went good month, bad month from then on. Sure, May was his worst ERA-wise by far as his highest ERA from then on was July (4.50 ERA), but that inconsistency is exactly why many believed Lincecum would only get one guaranteed year on his deal.
The fact that Lincecum got $35 million for the next two seasons is an absolute joke. The Giants are known for stability and always being consistent, and they are not completely crazy for thinking Lincecum will bounce back and perhaps prove them right for paying him so handsomely.
The fact of the matter is that Lincecum has not given the Giants or MLB, any indication he is going to bounce back, so the Giants overpaid because of his past and their fear of not being able to replace a 4.37 ERA.