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I am ready for baseball

Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor

Rounding Third Logo Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - For some of us in the Mid-Atlantic, who have had close to four feet of snow dumped on them in the last week, there may not be a better phrase to hear than "pitchers and catchers report."

Baseball season is in fact upon us, and I for one could not be happier. Teams will start to trickle into Florida and Arizona on Tuesday, with exhibition games set to begin two weeks after that.

This little respite between the end of football and the start of baseball is torture for me. The NBA is unwatchable. The NHL doesn't register on my radar until the playoffs and we are still about five weeks from when I can even think about college basketball.

There is no way the Olympics are going to tide me over either. If you think the Summer Olympics are boring, wait until you get a load of this nonsense over the next couple of weeks. The hockey tournament should be interesting, though, so that could get me to tune in, but who knows what channel it will be on.

Bottom line I am glad the moving trucks are on their way to the team's spring training facilities. After this past week, I definitely need a reminder that baseball season is in fact right around the corner.

Some of the actual baseball news making the rounds:

GIANTS AVOID MESSY SITUATION WITH LINCECUM


Tim Lincecum will earn $8 million this coming season with $13 million coming to him in 2011.
Thankfully for fans in the Bay Area, the San Francisco Giants and two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum never reached the arbitration table, as the two sides agreed on Friday to a two-year deal that will pay the right-hander $23 million.

Lincecum will earn $8 million this coming season with $13 million coming to him in 2011. The deal also includes a $2 million signing bonus that will pay him an extra $1 million in each of the two years. Not bad, considering he only earned $650,000 last season.

I am not sure I quite understand the deal for Lincecum, who earlier this week was offered a three-year, $37 million deal that would have paid him more this coming season than the contract he signed.

Lincecum was seeking a record $13 million in arbitration for someone of his service time, while the team was countering with $8 million. Plus there is a good chance that he may have won his arbitration case this year, which would have put his asking price in arbitration next year into the stratosphere. Instead, though, he will be paid what he was asking for in the first place this season.

Then again, the $9 million (bonus included) is more than double what any other pitcher with his service time has received. Either way, though, the deal is done and puts aside any bad feelings that may have lingered had they gone to arbitration.

I wouldn't want to be Giants' general manager Brian Sabean for the next round of contract discussions with Lincecum, though. San Francisco may have won this battle, but they will have to pony up big time after 2011.

NEXT STOP COOPERSTOWN FOR BIG HURT

One of the best pure hitters of his generation announced his retirement on Friday, as Frank Thomas called it a career after 19 big league seasons. The Big Hurt, the nickname given to him by White Sox broadcaster Ken Harrelson, did not play in the league last season, making this announcement somewhat of a formality.

Thomas spent 16 seasons with the White Sox (1990-2005) before finishing up in Toronto and Oakland. He compiled a .301 batting average with 521 homers and 1,704 RBI.

Those numbers are pretty remarkable when coupled with the fact that he's one of only four players in history to have at least a .300 batting average, 500 homers, 1,500 RBIs, 1,000 runs scored and 1,500 walks. He also had 2,468 hits and 1,667 walks.

Ted Williams, Babe Ruth and Mel Ott are the others.

Among his many honors, Thomas was the American League's Most Valuable Player in both 1993 and '94, and was also a five-time All-Star and four-time Silver Slugger award winner.

Of course, he played in the heart of the steroid era. I don't think anyone is clean, but he his name has never come up anywhere, so I guess I have to give him the benefit of the doubt. If he is in fact clean, and again I have no reason to believe otherwise, his numbers are amazing.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Chris Ruddick at cruddick@sportsnetwork.com.

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