Giants fans have showered Tim Lincecum with love and adulation throughout his time in San Francisco, through his Freakish highs and depressing lows.

After he passed his physical and finalized a two-year, $35 million contract Friday, Lincecum said he did not want to leave with his two worst seasons fresh in their minds.

"That's not the way you want to go out," Lincecum said. "That's not the kind of guy I am. I looked at this as an opportunity to do something big in the same uniform."

The Giants are making an enormous bet that Lincecum can do that again by continuing the strides he made in 2013 and join with Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner to be the cornerstones of a rotation that can lift the Giants to another championship.

As soon as the deal was announced Tuesday, it was ridiculed around baseball as too exorbitant for a pitcher who has become a shadow of his Cy Young-winning self, a reward for past glories, an ownership-driven move to keep a player who still sells a lot of tickets and merchandise.

Team President Larry Baer finally got to respond Friday and said, "Hey, Timmy is a very popular guy. I don't want it misinterpreted that this was done because he's popular. It was done because he can excel and get us to where we need to be in the future.

"This was targeted as a baseball decision because of Tim's performance. Everybody on the baseball side who was evaluating it said this was the right thing for the Giants to keep the rotation strong."

Assistant general manager Bobby Evans said the final contract figure was close to what management anticipated paying Lincecum and will not preclude the Giants from fulfilling general manager Brian Sabean's stated objective of adding at least one strong starting pitcher beyond Lincecum, plus a hitter.

Evans cautioned that the Giants would be reluctant to sign a player given a qualifying offer from his old team, which would cost them their first-round draft pick in 2014.