Giants Sign Matt Cain to Five-Year Extension

A couple weeks ago, Ken Rosenthal put up an article detailing the Giants’ contract extension talks with Matt Cain, reporting that the two sides had “failed to make progress” toward a deal. It was a bit unnerving, and those rumors only continued — that Cain was stuck between remaining in San Francisco and cashing in on his prime opportunity to test the free agent market. There were even — gasp — rumors that the Dodgers would heavily pursue Cain this offseason.

In any event, the fiasco’s over. Cain has signed, finally. And the contract, lucrative as it is, seems pretty reasonable. In addition to the $15M he’s already owed in 2012, Cain gets $100M over 2013-2017, plus a $5M signing bonus. The team has a club/vesting option for 2018 worth $21M, with a $7.5M buyout. So Cain is essentially guaranteed $112.5M, and the Giants are essentially guaranteed another six years of Cain (and a seventh, if all goes well).

I’m sort of concerned. For one, this is a lot of money; in fact, it’s the largest contract ever given to a right-handed pitcher. Pitchers get worse as they age, and pitchers also have a tendency to get injured.

But these feelings are overwhelmed by joy, which comes with knowing that the Giants have an extremely talented still-relatively-young pitcher under contract for the foreseeable future. Cain, after all, is just entering his age-27 season — so even by the option year, he won’t be that old (33, to be exact). And though he’s the Giants’ “number-two,” that label understates his talent. This can’t be stressed enough. He’s averaged just over 4 WAR per season since 2007, and he’s coming off a season in which he posted the lowest FIP of his career by far.

So I’m pleased. It’s a lot of money, but he’s worth it. Now, there’s risk — a lot of that, too. But for now, I’m just happy that the Giants finally have him locked up at a reasonable price.