SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Tim Lincecum showed up at AT&T Park on Friday with a hooded sweatshirt pulled over his cap and signature shaggy hair, hiding his appearance.
For the first time since signing a new contract that will keep him in San Francisco through the 2013 season, the Giants ace revealed his reasoning behind a shorter deal. He cautioned fans not to worry about his possible pending free agency - both sides are keeping discussions open on a longer contract.
The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner said he'd "love to be a Giant my whole career." He just wants to keep his options open because he has "never been a guy who could make a plan four years from now."
"It's like when someone's like, 'What are you going to be doing? You want to hang out like a month from now when I'm down there?' I'm like, 'I don't know. Just call me when you're down here and I'll see what I'm doing,"' Lincecum said, speaking ahead of Saturday's annual Giants FanFest. "That's the way I've always been. My friends know me that way. My family knows me that way. This is just no different."
Let the countdown begin.
The Giants would love to buy out those first few years of free agency for Lincecum and keep "The Franchise" and "The Freak" as the face of the city's beloved team for the long haul. The front office knows that if Lincecum stays healthy and anywhere close to the success of his recent seasons, San Francisco might not be able to compete with teams such as the Yankees and Red Sox on long-term deals that could pay Lincecum upward of $25 million to $30 million annually.
Lincecum and the Giants completed a $40.2 million, two-year deal last week to avoid arbitration. The contract includes a series of bonuses for awards and milestones and also holds Lincecum to certain agreements, such as purchasing 25 tickets for each home game for charity.
San Francisco still hopes to lock up Lincecum - not to mention strong starter Matt Cain - with a long-term deal.
"It's something that may not happen before the season or even before next offseason, but yes, that is our goal," Giants Vice President Bobby Evans said in a text message.
While the baseball world promises to pay attention to every detail of Lincecum's future, he's focused only on returning to his Cy Young form and taking the 2010 World Series champions back to the fall classic.