San Francisco Giants: Why Giants Must Lock Up Matt Cain Soon

Scott RussellContributor IIFebruary 5, 2012

Matt Cain is a prized-commodity in the game of baseball. He is a hard-throwing right-hander who eats up innings like Kobeyashi.

Cain has pitched over 1,300 innings as a Giant and has struck out 1,085 batters. Matt’s success has led to increased expectations, which include 200 innings pitched while maintaining a sub-4.00 ERA. Not only has Matt Cain fulfilled our expectations, he has exceeded them.

Matt Cain has not changed what he expects out of himself. Matt gives the team a chance to win, and anything short of that is considered a failure.

Cain has been the backbone of the Giants' pitching staff. He is arguably the most consistent pitcher on the team, and he has been doing it all for a bargain price.

Over six seasons, Matt has made slightly less than $16.75 million. Add $1.75 million to Matt Cain’s Giants career salary and you get $18.5 million, the amount paid to Barry Zito for one season of 5.87 ERA pitching. 

That is simply astounding to know that every inning that Matt Cain has pitched has been done while making less than Lincecum will in 2012.

It is time to open the wallet and show Matt some appreciation—he has certainly earned it.

Matt’s postseason performance in 2010 did not receive the recognition it deserved. In the playoffs, Cain pitched 21.1 innings of scoreless baseball. His three starts were the first and only starts in his postseason career.

If the Giants continue to wait to hop on the Matt Cain bandwagon, it might be too late. Cain could check out of San Francisco and cash-in as a free agent next year. If a potential suitor to Cain was the Yankees or Red Sox, Matt would have a difficult time not considering the offers. His win total would reach the high-teens regularly, and more wins means more success to a pitcher.

Matt Cain has stated how much he loves to pitch in San Francisco; his word is good on that. But to think that Cain loves the 2-1 losses when he goes eight innings only to watch the Giants offense come up short is not logical.

Matt Cain deserves to know two things.

Cain deserves to know that he is valued by the Giants organization by coming to an agreement on a long-term deal.

And secondly, he deserves to know that the Giants are committed to winning.

Matt Cain is in the position of power. A talent sought after by any team in baseball that believes they have a chance acquiring him.

The Giants need to make the smart move by acting quickly and confidently with Cain. Offering the right-hander a three- to four-year deal worth $17.5 million a year is something that I think Cain deserves and something that he will get, either from the Giants or an organization which values him more highly.

The statistics are the quantifiable results we see Matt put out year after year. But when talking about Matt Cain’s value to the Giants organization, there is so much more than meets the eye. Matt Cain plays the game in a way that Giants fans appreciate.

Not only is Matt Cain one of the most humble Giants, he is almost one of the most resilient. He handles mishaps professionally and does not let a bad start get in the way of the task in front of him.

Matt Cain is a gamer. When the Giants are in need of a big win, Cain wants the ball. Matt is a hard-nosed, all-business pitcher who approaches the game in a way that gains the respect of his teammates.

Madison Bumgarner has been taking advantage of having Cain as a teammate, for the time being. They are often found at one corner of the dugout observing the game happily. The influence that Cain is having on Bumgarner is very hard to quantify, but the way in which Mad-bum carries himself on the mound it is already apparent.

Let’s not forget that Matt was pitching well for the team before Timmy arrived on scene. The pitching staff is a unit which grows as a whole. Matt Cain is the glue in the rotation. Give him the ball every fifth day and you know what you are going to get. Cain’s consistency makes a long-term contract that much safer for the Giants.

Show Matt Cain that he is one of the most valuable players on the team. Let him keep his mind off of his contract and on the mound by offering him an extension, equal of his value to the organization.

Matt’s impact on the field and in the dugout makes him one of the most important pieces to the San Francisco Giants. Cain has been the backbone of the team. He has been right where he should be, at the top of the Giants rotation for the past six years.