Giants to make qualifying offers to Pence, Lincecum – looking to extend both

Hunter Pence 3 polaroidThe Giants are expected to make qualifying offers to both OF Hunter Pence and RHP Tim Lincecum this winter, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

In addition, Heyman says the Giants want to retain both players beyond this season,

In regards to Pence, Heyman think the Giants could entertain offering him a deal similar to that which Nick Swisher signed last winter with the Indians, a four-year, $56 million deal.

However, if Pence is not quickly signed, the Giants could turn to other free agent outfielders considering the numerous holes they have to fill.

In either case, it is expected both Pence and Lincecum will decline qualifying offers from the Giants, and seek multi-year deals through free agency this winter.

Michael Baron, Contributor

This is no surprise. Both of these players seem like pretty good fits for the Mets this winter, but a lot could depend on whether or not the Mets have a protected first round pick/associated draft pool money during next year’s amateur draft. At least that situation will be resolved by the end of the regular season.

In regards to Pence, he has been an underrated player his entire career, presumably because he’s mostly played in smaller markets and is not the most graceful player in the game. He has always been a slugger and he’s having a fantastic finish to this season. He’s a decent outfielder but has shown he can at least manage large expanses by his ability to play in AT&T Park and the big ballparks in the National League West. He’s also shown to be a grinder and a guy who plays every single day, and is very well liked by his teammates regardless of the team he plays for. Needless to say, he would immediately transform the Mets lineup, should the Mets sign him this winter.

As for Lincecum, he’s a little bit of a mystery. He has struggled over the last few years with mechanical problems, which is not a surprise given his unusual mechanics. As Heyman points out, he has improved as the season has gone on and has seen a return to his mid-90s velocity, something which has been consistently absent in recent seasons. He’s still pretty young, but there’s a lot of mileage on his body already, and it’s not clear if he is going to profile as a starter or a reliever going forward. But, the Mets need to sign a starting pitcher this winter, and I wonder if Lincecum would entertain a shorter-term deal in an effort to re-establish his value on the free agent market. If that’s the case and Lincecum is interested in New York, the Mets could have a match on paper.

Statistics and information on Pence and Lincecum...

Hunter Pence

Pence, 30, is hitting .290 with a .344 OBP and .834 OPS, 25 home runs and 93 RBI in 154 games this season.

He signed a one-year, $13.8 million contract before the 2013 season in his final season of arbitration eligibility – he can be a free agent this winter.

Tim Lincecum

Lincecum, 29, is 10-14 with a 4.44 ERA in 190 2/3 innings over 31 starts this season. He has allowed 176 hits, 74 walks and 21 home runs with 187 strikeouts this year.

He is in the final year of a two-year, $40.5 million contract he signed with the Giants before the 2012 season – he will earn $22 million in 2013.

Read more: CBS Sports

To learn more about qualifying offers to free agents, check out this post to MetsBlog from last fall.