Underpaid Lincecum Still Mowing Them Down

Tim Lincecum kind of looks like he was born yesterday. The Giants seem happy to pay him as if he were.

But from what we've seen of Lincecum so far this Spring Training, he's brushing off his low ball contract extension from the Giants and still fire balling it like the most dominant pitcher in the National League. Linny has now appeared in two Cactus League games, and has thrown four scoreless innings and given up only one hit. In yesterday's 5-2 win over Milwaukee, he retired nine consecutive Brewers in only 27 pitches. That's three pitches apiece. His Cactus League ERA remains a very lovely 0.00.

Tim-MAY was only supposed to throw the first two innings yesterday. But he was fanning Brewers with such ease that his pitch count remained well below what Bruce Bochy had anticipated.  So they sent him out for a third inning, and again he retired the side in 1-2-3 fashion.

 Despite Lincecum's unquestioned status as the Giants best starting pitcher, he's also their lowest-paid pitcher. By kind of a huge margin, and even after signing a contract extension last week. With his new "raise", Tim Lincecum will now make $650,000 in 2009. Meanwhile Barry Zito will make about $18 million in 2009.

How is it that the Giants can pay Lincecum Top Ramen money, compared to $126 million man Barry Zito? Because they can. Lincecum is not yet eligible for salary arbitration, so the Giants can pay him pretty much whatever they please and there's not much Timmy can do about it. He is eligible for arbitration next year, but until then Lincecum is like the guy who has to eat other people's leftover filet mignon out of the trash while he waits for his stock options to vest.

Maybe Giants' general manager Brian Sabean is setting money aside in an elaborate scheme so he can pay Manny Ramirez. Or maybe he's setting money aside in an elaborate scheme so he can pay Giants' general manager Brian Sabean.

Rest assured that next season, Lincecum will certainly be in line to get Barry Zito money from some big-spending ballclub. But until then, he'll have to wash Barry Zito's car if he wants Barry Zito money.

 Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who wants to know if you're going to finish the rest of that filet mignon.

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