Just how much is he worth? Well, that's where the disagreement comes in. The Giants have offered the two-time NL Cy Young Award-winner $17 million in arbitration, topping the $14.25 million the New York Yankees proposed for shortstop Derek Jeter in 2001 as most offered in arbitration history.
But Lincecum thinks he's worth a significant amount more. He asked for $21.5 million in salary arbitration Tuesday, which is almost the most ever sought in arbitration. Pitcher Roger Clemens asked for $22 million when he was with the Houston Astros in 2005.
Giants vice president of baseball operations Bobby Evans says the team hopes to come to an agreement with the pitcher before an arbitration hearing. They were able to do so in 2010, agreeing to a two-year, $23-million contract when Lincecum was set to ask for a one-year deal of $13 million.
The front office is looking to lock up Lincecum and the Giants' other star pitcher, Matt Cain, to long-term deals. But Lincecum may be set on keeping his options open with a shorter contract.
No matter how this turns out, Lincecum will earn the highest salary ever paid to an arbitration-eligible pitcher, besting the $15 million the Philadelphia Phillies agreed to pay starter Cole Hamels on Tuesday.
What do you think? Is Lincecum worth the $21.5 million he's seeking? Or is a mere $17 million enough for his services? Vote in the poll, then leave a comment explaining why you voted the way you did.
-- Chuck Schilken
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Photo: Tim Lincecum. Credit: Jeff Chiu / Associated Press