Away from the site for a few days and the Giants extend more players!
The biggest news coming out of Giantsland is the Matt Cain extension — the team has re-signed Matt Cain to a new 3-year deal for 2010-2012. Matt’s new deal replaces his already under contract year of 2010 and his option year (previously set at $6.25M) for 2011, while “buying out” his first year of free agency. The whole thing looks something like this:
Year Old Deal New Deal 2010 $4.25M $4.25M 2011 $6.25M (Option) $7M 2012 FA $15M
There is also a $1M signing bonus that gets paid in ’11 — making that yearly salary $8M. It’s a nice deal for Cain, he’ll net a little protection over the next three years by getting guaranteed money in ’11 and ’12. From the Giants end of things, I was hoping they could have bought out more than just 1 year of Matt’s FA years. Cain was under contract with the club from 2010-11 regardless of any new deal, this new pact essentially tacks on 1 FA year while guaranteeing the next two years after ’10.
Since became a full-time starter for the Giants, he’s been a model of consistency. Every year he throws around 200 innings and posts a FIP in the 3.80-3.90 range. His WAR totals reflect his steady production since 2006: 3.5, 4.0, 3.7, and 3.6 wins above replacement. Cain’s shrinking K-rate is a little bit of a concern (he posted a K/9 of 8.45 in ’06 vs. a 7.07 in ’09) but he’s made strides in his control (BB/9 of 4.11 in ’06 vs. 3.02 in ’09). It’s hard to believe that he’ll only be 25-years-old for this upcoming season — he’s actually younger than Lincecum, which might surprise you.
Indeed, Cain’s success-to-youth ratio is quite high. He entered the majors as a 20-year-old and found immediate success. It’s rare to see a young pitcher make the transition to the majors and succeed at the same time. Forgive me for the selective endpoints, but if we examined every pitcher since 1950 that pitched at least 800 innings by the time he was 24-years-old, and sorted that list by ERA+, we would get the following.
That’s a heck’uva list. By my count, I spy 3 HoF’s (Seaver, Eckersley, Drysdale) mixed in with some very solid pitchers (Nolan, Chance, Tanana), some very promising youth (Felix), and a should-be HoF (Blyleven). Since Cain stepped on the field in SF, he’s been an amazing pitcher. It’s hard to see why a portion of the fanbase has undervalued Cain to an extent. How many “He learned how to win” pieces did we read last year? Cain has always been a solid to very-good pitcher, even if the offense he pitched in front of was beyond bad.
I’ll end my Cain love-fest with this: He’s good.