Surprise, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Matt Cain (18) pitches against the Texas Rangers during the second inning at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE
According to a report, Matt Cain will sign a five-year contract extension with the San Francisco Giants before opening day. The extension would be worth around $110 million.
Allow me to give you some context, in case you haven't been keeping yourself up to speed. Matt Cain was set to become a free agent next fall. Same with Zack Greinke and Cole Hamels. With those three names, there was a lot of talent at the top of the potential free-agent pitching market.
The San Francisco Giants weren't just going to let Cain leave without a fight, though, so they engaged him and his agent in contract talks. There were reports that progress was being made towards an extension, and then there were reports that not enough progress was being made towards an extension. Most recently, we had this:
Cain reiterated Opening Day is "cutoff" for contact talks. Said Sabean feels the same way.— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) March 30, 2012
With the deadline looming, talks supposedly heated up, as they do. And now there's big news, or the promise of big news:
BREAKING NEWS: Two people familiar w/ talks told me Cain will sign "in the neighborhood of" 5 years and $110 mil before opener. #sfgiants— John Shea (@JohnSheaHey) April 2, 2012
Five years. That's a contract extension. $110 million. That's a big contract extension. Nothing's done right now, but according to John Shea and his sources, Matt Cain is going to stick around.
Cain has long been confounding to the analytical community. He's consistently run ERAs lower than one would expect given his other statistics, like his walks, strikeouts, and ground balls. He has a career 3.35 ERA and 125 ERA+, despite a fine but otherwise unremarkable strikeout-to-walk ratio. That said, Cain's been doing this long enough that it's probably not a fluke, and his strikeout-to-walk ratio has improved from about 2.0 through 2009 to nearly 3.0 between 2010-2011. Already good, Cain's been getting better. The Giants know what they have, and it looks like they're going to commit to Cain as if he's an ace.