SAN FRANCISCO (CBS Sports) — The San Francisco Giants have determined they will make qualifying offers to top free agents Hunter Pence and Tim Lincecum, sources said, but first the team is trying to lock up Pence – the hottest hitter in the National League this month – on a multi-year deal. In that bigger endeavor, they are just getting started with talks.
The Giants are believed to have signaled a willingness to pay Pence something akin to the $56-million, four-year deal given to Nick Swisher by the Cleveland Indians last winter, though that may just be an opening salvo, as Pence’s torrid finish surely means higher expectations.
Lincecum had some mechanical issues the past couple years, but he threw a no-hitter this year and has regained velocity lately, hitting 94-95 mph on the gun. The Giants understand his great popularity in the Bay Area, and the early talks with Pence only suggest a priority. It shouldn’t be assumed they won’t try to bring Lincecum back to the Bay, even beyond the qualifying offer they’ll make.
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