In a weak free agent class, the San Francisco Giants will have their hands full if they want to re-sign Hunter Pence and Tim Lincecum.
According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports, neither Pence nor Lincecum are expected to accept qualifying offers should the Giants offer them to their top two free agents. Pence’s offer would be at $13.8 million, which he has no reason to accept because he should get a much higher offer on the free agent market. That is also the same amount that he is making this season.
Pence has heated up at the right time, batting over .360 in September, raising his overall average to .290 with 25 home runs and 93 RBI. Heyman reports that the Giants are willing to offer a contract similar to the four-year, $56 million deal that Nick Swisher signed with the Indians in the offseason, but Pence’s camp could point out that Andre Ethierbsigned a five-year, $85 million contract with the Dodgers last June. The Giants apparently view Ethier’s deal as an “overpay.”
As for Lincecum, the two-time Cy Young Award winner is expected to generate “serious interest” around the league as well in a free agent class that won’t feature a ton of quality starters. Lincecum is having another down year with a 10-14 record and and a 4.44 ERA. He has looked better during the second half of the season, but is nowhere close to Cy Young-form.
The Giants are interested in bringing back both Pence and Lincecum, but the question remains: how high would they be willing to go in a bidding war?