Good Timing, Great Contract for Cain

Good Timing, Great Contract for Cain

Five thoughts recapping a slew of contract extensions: Giants starter Matt Cain became the highest-paid righthanded pitcher in baseball history ($127.5 million guaranteed from 2012 through 2017, with an option for 2018); two emerging stars -- Alex Gordon with the Royals and Asdrubal Cabrera with the Indians -- signed up for more years in the AL Central; and Reds first baseman Joey Votto, the 2010 NL MVP, was reported to be close to his own long-term deal.

1. Cain Is Able

Why Cain -- a pitcher who has never finished better than eighth in NL Cy Young voting -- is the new owner of the largest contract ever given to a righthanded pitcher in baseball history is all about timing (his) and misperception (those held by casual observers).

By becoming a full-time major leaguer at age 21, Cain was set to complete the necessary 6+ years of service time for free agency during the 2012 season when he will still be just 27. He won't turn 28 years old until Oct. 1. So while a glance at his career results suggest "very good pitcher" more than "historically great pitcher," the Giants are banking on the fact that Cain will still be in his prime for most (or all) of this new contract.

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