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Matt Cain: Could He Command $100 Million from San Francisco Giants?

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Matt Cain: Could He Command $100 Million from San Francisco Giants?
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According to CBSSports.com reporter Jon Heyman, the San Francisco Giants' chances of signing pitcher Matt Cain for less than $100 million is "a major long shot now."

Cain, 26, is in the final year of a three-year, $27 million contract extension that he signed on March 28, 2010. The Giants got a pretty darn good deal when Cain signed that extension and now Heyman says there are "definite signs" that the right-hander is open to leaving the Giants after his contract expires after the 2012 season.

Cain recently signed on with a mega-agency—the same agency that coaxed the Washington Nationals into signing 27-year-old, oft-injured Ryan Zimmerman to a six-year, $100 million extension last month.

Cain denied that he had anything to do with his current situation.

Uh, yeah right.

If Zimmerman, who has lost 175 days (135 games) to injury since 2006, can get $100 million, Shotgun surely can, too. In his seven pro seasons with the Giants, Cain has missed just one regular season start due to injury.

One thing's for sure: Cain wants his contract situation resolved before Opening Day.

"I believe both sides would like to have something resolved, whether that's signing back or not," Cain said. "Once the season starts, I want to be thinking about the season. That's my main goal.''

The Giants would be wise to give the man what he wants (within reason, of course).

With Tim Lincecum getting a two-year, $40.5 million deal in January, I think San Francisco is positioned well to sign Cain for five or six years.

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Barry Zito's albatrossian contract can be bought out for $7 million in 2013 (just in time for Timmy to re-sign another massive deal if they want.)

By then, Cain would be entering Year 3 of his new long-term deal and the Giants would only have to overlap the Timmy and Matty contracts for just a year or two. (As for Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey, in my opinion, the Giants really don't have to worry about signing them to fat, long-term deals until 2014, at the earliest. Pablo Sandoval, however, will probably need to be dealt with next year.)

Bottom line: There's no reason the Giants shouldn't sign Cain to a five- or six-year deal this spring. He's a healthy workhorse who would be a No. 1 starter on most teams.

Forget about Zito and the outpouring of disgust from Giants fans whenever his name is brought up in conversation.

If San Francisco were to let Cain hit the open market (and walk), I think CEO Larry Baer would be dragged out of his office at Third and King, taken out back to the port walk, flogged and tossed into McCovey Cove.

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