Matt Cain Rumors

Giants To Extend Matt Cain

7:16pm: Shea hears that the sixth year option will not vest if Cain finishes the fifth year of the contract on the disabled list with an elbow or shoulder injury (Twitter link).

2:04pm: The Giants announced that they have agreed to a five-year extension with Matt Cain. Cain's deal guarantees him $112.5MM in new money through 2017, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). The deal, which establishes a record for right-handed pitchers, includes a club/vesting player option for 2018. Landon Williams, Rick Landrum and Jeff Berry of CAA Sports represent Cain, who had been scheduled to hit free agency following the 2012 season.

“Ensuring that Matt remained a Giant beyond this season was a top priority for the organization," Giants GM Brian Sabean said via press release. "Matt is an integral part of the team whose performance on the mound will be one of the keys to our success for years to come.”

Cain has emerged as a frontline starter in recent years. The 27-year-old has completed 200 innings in five consecutive seasons, and has impressive career rate stats. He consistently outperforms his strong peripheral stats to post low ERAs. Most recently, he posted a 2.88 ERA with 7.3 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and a 41.7% ground ball rate in 221 2/3 innings last year. 

The deal figures to affect at least two other ace pitchers: Tim Lincecum and Cole Hamels. Lincecum is on track for free agency following the 2013 season and Hamels will be eligible for free agency this winter. Should Hamels reach a deal with the Phillies, it will presumably mirror Cain's contract. Zack Greinke could also use Cain's deal as a reference point in talks with the Brewers.

If Cain had tested the market next offseason, teams such as the Dodgers and Yankees could have entered the bidding. Instead teams seeking pitching in free agency will turn their attention to the likes of Hamels, Greinke and Anibal Sanchez.

Today's deal breaks Kevin Brown's long-standing record for right-handed pitchers. Brown signed a seven-year, $105MM contract following the 1998 season.

Cain obtains a signing bonus of $5MM and his 2012 salary of $15MM remains unchanged, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (Twitter links). The right-hander will earn $20MM annually from 2013-17 and the deal includes a $21MM option with a $7.5MM buyout for 2018, according to Rosenthal. The 2018 option will vest if Cain is healthy in 2017, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). Otherwise it becomes a club option. Cain has full no-trade protection, according to Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and MLB Network Radio (Twitter link).

Luke Adams of MLBTR anticipated the terms of the upcoming extension with considerable accuracy in December. John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle first reported that the sides would agree to terms.


Talks Accelerate Between Giants, Cain

The volume of dialogue has increased between the Giants and Matt Cain's representatives as Friday's  deadline edges near, sources tell Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com.  While the deadline of Friday has been characterized as soft, the pitcher would like talks to be wrapped up prior to the Giants' Opening Day.

Sources tell Baggarly that Cain's camp has not shown any signs of lowering their asking price.  It's believed that five years and $100MM is the floor in negotiations and it's not known if the Giants have even offered that much.  In a chat with fans on Thursday, CEO Larry Baer insisted the club was not making "lowball" offers to the 27-year-old.


Cain Expected To Sign Five-Year Deal

The Giants will sign right-hander Matt Cain to an extension "in the neighborhood of" five years and $110MM by Opening Day, two sources tell John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter). Landon Williams and Rick Landrum of CAA Sports represent Cain, who had been scheduled to hit free agency following the 2012 season.

Cain has emerged as a frontline starter in recent years and the upcoming deal would establish a record for right-handed pitchers, as long as it's worth more than $105MM. The 27-year-old has completed 200 innings in five consecutive seasons, and has impressive career rate stats. He consistently outperforms his strong peripheral stats to post low ERAs. Most recently, he posted a 2.88 ERA with 7.3 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and a 41.7% ground ball rate in 221 2/3 innings last year. 

The deal figures to affect at least two other ace pitchers: Tim Lincecum and Cole Hamels. Lincecum is on track for free agency following the 2013 season and Hamels will be eligible for free agency this winter. Should Hamels reach a deal with the Phillies, it will presumably mirror Cain's contract. Zack Greinke could also use Cain's deal as a reference point in talks with the Brewers.

Cain will earn $15MM in 2012. Luke Adams of MLBTR anticipated the terms of the upcoming extension with considerable accuracy in December.

This post was originally published on April 2nd, 2012.



Quick Hits: Cain, Hosmer, Team Values, Izturis

Ichiro Suzuki and Yoenis Cespedes are the early stars of this young 2012 season, with the rest of the league waiting until next week to catch up to the Mariners and Athletics.  Here's some news from around the majors…

  • Matt Cain reiterated to reporters (including Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle) that Opening Day is the "cutoff" for contract talks between him and the Giants.  Cain said Giants GM Brian Sabean feels the same way.  Larry Baer, the team's CEO, discussed the Cain negotiations and more in a live chat with fans earlier today.
  • Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer is in no hurry to sign a multiyear contract, he tells Tyler Kepner of the New York Times.  "There’s a long time for that coming,” Hosmer said of a possible contract extension. “For me, I haven’t even experienced an opening day yet….I feel like it wouldn’t even be fair to this team to start thinking about that.”  Last January, MLBTR's Mike Axisa featured Hosmer as an extension candidate.
  • Sports business consultant Marc Ganis tells ESPN New York's Adam Rubin that if the Dodgers are worth $2.15 billion, it greatly raises the ceiling for the prices of baseball's big-market teams.  Ganis estimates the Yankees would be worth $4 billion, the Red Sox $2.5 billion and the Mets roughly $1.5 billion.  Only the biggest markets would have higher price tags, however, since they offer the most lucrative local broadcasting deals.
  • Also from Henry Schulman (Twitter links), Gregor Blanco says he chose the Giants over the Marlins in the offseason since San Francisco hitting coach Hensley Meulens promised Blanco a legitimate chance at a roster spot.  It looks like Blanco made the right choice, as he's poised to start the season in the majors after a big Spring Training.
  • Alexi Amarista's impressive camp has made him a candidate for a utility job with the Angels, but Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times says Amarista is too inexperienced at the big league level to make Maicer Izturis expendable.  Izturis' name has been connected to a few trade rumors this spring as several teams are in the market for infielders.
  • Cesar Izturis (Maicer's older brother) has been told he will make the Brewers' roster, says team media director Mike Vassallo (Twitter link).  Izturis' minor league deal with Milwaukee allowed him to ask for his release if he wasn't on the 40-man roster by March 30, but now his $875K salary for 2012 is guaranteed.
  • MLB.com's Jordan Bastian (via Twitter) predicts the Indians to make a "big roster reduction" on Saturday as the team starts to pare down its roster from its current 41-player state.  Bastian says the Tribe has been "looking at trades" as well, and indeed Cleveland has at least one notable deal reportedly in the works.
  • If the Angels cut Jason Isringhausen, the veteran reliever tells MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez that he'll probably retire, though there's a slight chance he'll keep pitching if he gets the right offer.  "It depends on who's that team that might call, who they'd be," Isringhausen said.

Giants CEO: Team Isn’t “Lowballing” Matt Cain

Giants CEO Larry Baer said both his club and Matt Cain's representatives are "both working very hard" to reach agreement on a contract extension for the star right-hander.  Cain's future in San Francisco was a hot topic during Baer's web chat with fans on MLB.com (quotes passed along by Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com) and Baer stressed that the team is making every effort to lock Cain up to a multiyear deal.

"Our desire is for [Cain] to remain a Giant. There’s nothing we’ve seen from him that shows his desire is not to be. We just keep plugging along," Baer said.  "There’s been a lot of mischaracterizations with hard-and-fast deadline or we’re lowballing him. Those are uneducated. I can’t promise it will or won’t happen — that’s going to ultimately be the process of negotiation and Matt’s decision."

"We’d like to keep the homegrown players that are performing and Matt Cain is at the top of the list."

We heard last week that negotiations between Cain and the Giants hadn't yielded much progress, though the two sides had recently started talking again.  Baggarly noted that the MLBPA was keeping an eye on Cain's contract given that he has already signed two extensions considered to be below-market, which is perhaps a reason why Baer made a point of saying the Giants weren't "lowballing" Cain. 

Still, Baggarly reports the Giants are again looking to pay Cain less than the estimated six-year, $120MM deal he'd find on the open market due to the additional risk the team would be taking on should the right-hander be injured before his extension begins in 2013.  It's also possible the Giants could be waiting to see if the Phillies extend Cole Hamels, with that deal becoming the blueprint for a new Cain contract.

The Giants potentially face a looming threat in the NL West now that the Dodgers have been sold and will once again have money to spend, but Baer didn't think the Dodgers' new ownership group would immediately impact next winter's free agent market.  In any case, San Francisco's focus is not on free agents, but rather locking up their own players.

"Fans would like certain free agents like Albert Pujols …  but the first priority is homegrown players that we still think have a lot of productivity left," Baer said. "(But) we can’t control the overall economics of player and agent. It’s got to be something that allows us to field a team that will win.”


NL West Notes: Giants, Cain, Dodgers, Padres

Items out of the NL West and surprise surprise, many of them come back to the Dodgers..

  • The Giants and Matt Cain, perhaps newly motivated by the Dodgers’ $2.15 billion sale, have picked up extension talks again, writes Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com.  The negotiations are being watched carefully by the Players’ Association as the pitcher signed what was viewed as a pair of club-friendly extensions earlier in his career.
  • The Giants won't be the biggest spender in the division for long, writes Baggarly.  Giants CEO Larry Baer told Baggarly that while the club will look to "compete their brains out" against the Dodgers, they are glad to see the team in good hands and in a position to prosper.
  • Steve Garvey's group didn't wind up getting the Dodgers but the former first baseman told XX1090 Sports Radio (via Twitter) that his group is interested in buying the Padres.
  • Steve Gilbert of MLB.com writes that the Diamondbacks face a tough decision when it comes to out-of-options reliever Mike Zagurski.  There doesn't appear to be room for him on the roster but getting a solid left-handed reliever through waivers won't be easy.

Quick Hits: Byrnes, Hoyer, Cain, Mets, Chamberlain

Ten years and one day ago today, the Marlins traded Matt Clement and Antonio Alfonseca to the Cubs for Julian Tavarez, Ryan Jorgensen, Jose Cueto, and Dontrelle Willis. Willis alone made the deal worthwhile for the Fish. Here's the latest from around the league…

  • When Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein first called former Padres CEO Jeff Moorad for permission to speak to a member of his front office, he asked about assistant GM Josh Byrnes according to Dan Hayes of The North County Times. Epstein was instead allowed to speak to GM Jed Hoyer because "he was the GM of a last-place team," said Moorad.
  • There has been some recent "back and forth" between the Giants and Matt Cain about a contract extension, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Cain did say that his upcoming free agency is "an exciting part of your career."
  • Outfielder Mike Baxter, catcher Mike Nickeas, and lefty Danny Herrera are front-runners for roster spots with the Mets, writes ESPN New York's Adam Rubin. Baxter and Herrera are not on the team's 40-man roster.
  • Yankees GM Brian Cashman declined to comment when asked about Joba Chamberlain's contract situation according to Marc Carig of The Star-Ledger (on Twitter). The right-hander suffered an open dislocation of his right ankle playing with his son last week and could miss the season.
  • When the Blue Jays and Athletics discussed Gio Gonzalez this offseason, Oakland asked for 19-year-old right-hander Noah Syndergaard according to Jeff Blair of The Globe and Mail. Baseball America ranked Snydergaard as Toronto's seventh best prospect in December.

The Latest On Matt Cain & Tim Lincecum

There's an "understanding" between the Giants and Matt Cain that they'll try to wrap up contract extension talks before the Opening Day, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. There is no evidence they are close to a deal or that they've even made progress in recent weeks. Extension talks with Tim Lincecum are on hold so the team can focus on Cain given the short window.

The Giants made Cain an initial offer a few weeks ago, though the 27-year-old right-hander is said to be seeking a nine-figure guarantee. The team's offer was not close to $100MM according to Heyman. Cain will earn $15MM in 2012 before hitting the open market next winter, when he will arguably be the best free agent right-handed starter since Mike Mussina in 2000.

Lincecum signed a two-year extension worth $40.5MM this offseason, and San Francisco offered him a five-year deal worth roughly $100MM not too long ago. The two sides are said to be $75MM or so apart.


Latest On Matt Cain

The Giants and right-hander Matt Cain have mutual interest in working out a long-term agreement, but aren't particularly close to an extension at the moment. Here's the latest on the talks…

  • Cain told Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com that he's 'torn' about whether to sign an extension in San Francisco. “I’m definitely going to enjoy this season,” Cain said. “But you also think about going to free agency, and you might not have that chance again. So you really are torn between the two sides. It’d be hard to say it’s one way or the other.”
  • Agent Rick Landrum told John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle that Cain's side will "never give up hope" even though a soft deadline of Opening Day exists. Both sides want to have completed negotiations by the time Spring Training ends.
  • Cain and fellow Giants starter Tim Lincecum have led the Giants' rotation for years, but they're getting expensive and there's no guarantee the Giants will be able to keep them, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick explains. If Cain's negotiations were a nine-inning game, talks would be in the fifth inning, Crasnick reports.

Quick Hits: Cain, Hamels, Aybar, K-Rod, Escobar

Happy birthday to Kevin Youkilis (33), Jon Jay (27) and Leo Nun…er, make that Juan Oviedo (30).  This is the first time Oviedo has been able to publicly celebrate his actual birthday in several years, as he kept a listed birthday of August 14, 1983 while living under the Leo Nunez identity.

Here's some news from around the major leagues as we head into Friday…

  • Matt Cain's agent Rick Landrum tells John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle that "we'll never give up hope" that Cain and the Giants can work out a contract extension before Opening Day.  There hasn't been much progress in recent negotiations but the two sides "remain open for business," as Shea writes.
  • In addition to Cain, there have been no new developments over the last week in Cole Hamels' extension talks with the Phillies, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney.
  • Also from Olney (via Twitter), he hears from evaluators that there isn't much trade talk overall around the majors.  Olney predicts things will probably pick up in 10 days or so, once teams start to sort out their needs for their Opening Day rosters.
  • Angels GM Jerry Dipoto has had at least two face-to-face meetings since Monday with Erick Aybar's representatives, reports Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles.  Aybar is believed to be looking for an extension of at least five years.  Dipoto recently said that he thought an extension with Aybar was possible, if not necessarily by Opening Day.
  • The Padres were discussing a one-year, $9MM contract with Francisco Rodriguez over the winter before the club saw an opportunity to acquire Huston Street, reports Scott Miller of CBS Sports. San Diego also talked to free agent Frank Francisco and asked the Athletics about Andrew Bailey.
  • The Royals' extension with Alcides Escobar is the team's latest step in locking up its young talent, reports MLB.com's Dick Kaegel.  "[Owners] Dan and David Glass are determined to keep as many of these young players together as we can, knowing full well that it has to fit within our salary structure and our payroll going forward," Moore said. "It's going to get a little sticky for us, it's going to get a little hairy as we get into 2014-15-16."  Moore declined to comment on the progress of contract talks with another of Kansas City's young stars, Alex Gordon
  • The well-traveled Octavio Dotel shares some of his road stories with ESPN's Jayson Stark.  Dotel will set a new Major League record once he plays his first game for the Tigers this season by becoming the first player to suit up for 13 different teams.
  • "I feel comfortable we finally got to a level [where we] can be competitive every single year," Tigers owner Mike Ilitch told media (including MLB.com's Jason Beck) during a visit to Spring Training today.  "That's always been my goal. I feel good about that. It would be hard to screw that up once you get there. You tell yourself you want to stay there now."
  • The Orioles could be looking for backup catching help if Taylor Teagarden's back injury lingers into the season, reports CSN Baltimore's Rich Dubroff.  Veteran Ronny Paulino is Matt Wieters' backup for now, but Paulino only just arrived in camp due to a visa issue.