Monday, April 2, 2012

Giants deliver six more years of Matt Cain

At long last the San Francisco Giants have found some common financial ground with Matt Cain.  Originally broken by John Shea on Twitter, the Giants have officially agreed to terms with Matt Cain on a 5-year extension worth $112.5M in guaranteed money.  That includes a $5M signing bonus and a $7.5M buyout in 2018.  He also received a full no-trade clause in the deal.
This is the second major agreement that the Giants have made in the last three months, as they agreed to a two-year, $40.5M deal with Tim Lincecum in January.  Madison Bumgarner is a Giant until 2016, meaning that the meat of the Giants’ pitching staff should remain intact for at least the next two years.  With Vogelsong remaining a long term question mark, Barry Zito still learning how to pitch again with Opening Day just days away and a farm system that Carlos Beltran emptied out, this is some fantastic news for fans of 1 run ball games.
There you go – everybody take a deep breath.  Good.  Now exhale.
A ton of good sports talk fodder was created by what felt like a never-ending contract duel with Cain.  He seemed as stoic at the negotiating table as he is on the mound, and if he ever broke a sweat over the discussions he certainly didn’t let the media know it.
During a Spring Training that saw Cain peppered with questions regarding his pending free agency, he always stood pat – either deflecting the questions completely or reinforcing his Opening Day deadline for contract talks.  Giants fans quivered, wondering “What the hell is Brian Sabean’s deal?” They can now rest easy.  He promised that pitching would be a priority, and at 5 years $110M, he certainly delivered.
After all, a contract negotiation is exactly what it sounds like – a negotiation.  The Giants would have been crazy to just walk in and give up whatever Cain was demanding.  From an outsider’s perspective, 5 years for $110M seemed like a no-brainer, but baseball is a business first.  Due diligence had to be attended to.  Low-balling and countering are the name of the game.
Now that the red tape has been shed, it’s time to get back to the game.  Matt Cain will enjoy a nice dinner on the town after the Battle of the Bay tonight because, after all, money is no longer an object.  Giants fans will pass each other on the street with a smirk, knowing that their man is locked up for the next 6 years.  But buyer beware – the Matt Cain deal, as happy as you are, is a pleasant distraction. This is still a flawed team with many holes still left to be filled.
But enjoy it for now.  After a Spring Training like that, you deserve it.

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