Tim Lincecum wants to throw around his 160-pounds of weight in order to secure a $13 million dollar contract from the Giants franchise. This is being followed closely by the baseball world, because if successful, it would be the most money secured by a player in his first year of arbitration eligibility. The question is, of course, what is he worth? He is a two-time Cy Young Award winner, an All Star, and has an ERA of 2.90, so why not give him what he's asking for? But damn, Tim, $8 million can buy you a lot of weed!
It has been argued that a baseball player SHOULD hold out for as much money as he can get; that he would be an idiot for agreeing to a smaller amount of money. The player has a highly valued commodity that is in demand, and he should expect top-dollar for it. But Christ-on-a-kayak, we're not talking about minimum wage here. It is not like earning less than desired will place him in a cardboard box behind Hardees. I have never been a fan of the ridiculous amounts of money pro-athletes make - I know I'm in the minority - but in a time of economic hardship in which the majority of Americans are currently mired, hearing about an already over-paid athlete asking for more only makes him look like a selfish prick. Unless he wants to donate the additional millions to efforts in Haiti, I say screw him.
The inevitable question is what the hell else should MLB franchises do with all of their money, if not spend it on the best players? After all, salaries come from the "pot" of money accumulated by the franchise airing games, securing advertisements, ticket and merchandising sales, etc. These organizations make monster amounts of dough each year (last year, Major League Baseball made over $6 billion in revenue) and all they are doing is spreading around the resources available to them. But I have always thought it was a sad reflection on our society that there is that much money available to them in the first place. These are merely entertainers, that's it. Professional athletes are talented, and perform a task few other people on Earth can do, and, yes, there is a demand for that service. But last year, the average salary for an MLB player was $3.7 million, with the lowest paid player raking in $400,000 to essentially ride the pine. That is serious money for being able to hit and throw a ball. They aren't operating on a dying child, or putting out fires, they are playing ball - something elementary school kids do for free.
What does all of this have to do with Lincecum? He is simply the latest in a long string of players demanding ever-increasing salaries, which they usually receive. Franchises will, in return, demand more for their product and will receive that as well, because we are willing to pay it.
If only it were this simple...