Although he is signed through 2012, the San Francisco Giants are already in talks with Matt Cain and his agent to get him signed to an extension. By getting the jump on his negotiations they can hopefully avoid a long drawn out drama ,and make sure that they don’t lose him to the free agent market, even if a deal can’t be reached.
The longer it takes to get his name on the dotted line, the more likely that the Giants will find them selves in the middle of a soap opera. Cain’s management will not hesitate to use the media to help leverage the negotiations. It would not be the media circus that followed Albert Pujols, but Matt Cain will be a coveted free agent and it will grab headlines.
So the two questions that the Giants must ask is how much is Matt Cain worth to the organization and do they need to put a higher priority on bolstering the offense? Based on recent signings of comparable pitchers Cain will demand close to $100 million over 5 years. Cain’s role in the team’s recent success and World Series victory is obvious. On a team loaded with pitching talent, Matt Cain is by far the most consistent. The benefit of having a player of his caliber who is also consistent behind Tim Lincecum, especially during the playoffs is immeasurable. On the other side even this dominant pitching staff had problems carrying the Giants anemic offense last year. It may serve the team better to either trade him for a few bats, or use the cap space to acquire them in free agency.
Whatever the Giants decide to do they must do it quickly. The Giants have a lot of leverage as common sense points to Cain wanting to stay. He plays in a pitcher friendly park and is on a team that has a lot of the same roster that won a World Series. As of now San Francisco has said it’s their priority to get him signed to an extension, but they would be foolish to not look at the other options. If Cain is not willing to accept an offer that will still allow the team build its offense, similar to Jared Weaver then the Giants must look to trade him for some offense.