San Francisco Giants: What the Matt Cain Deal Means for the Future

Miguel LlullContributor IIIApril 2, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 13:  Matt Cain #18 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the San Diego Padres at AT&T Park on September 13, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The San Francisco Giants locked up Matt Cain today with a long-term deal that Giants fans were worried wasn't going to happen. 

As the dust settles on the excitement that fans have felt over the announcement of the deal, concern begins to creep in over the future of Tim Lincecum.

The Giants will publicly say that they don't have to worry about it until after the 2013 season, and they're right. 

I don't think they are too worried about it because I think they have planned for it.

The Giants have spent the last ten years since drafting Matt Cain focusing on building the strongest pitching staff possible to compliment their ultra pitching-friendly ballpark. 

The philosophy has changed from surrounding Barry Bonds with mediocrity to pitching lights-out and hoping for enough runs. 

The lights-out pitching has happened, and something else has happened in recent years—they have begun to see some position players rise through their system that have and will hopefully continue to make an impact.

With Matt Cain making around 22 million dollars, Tim Lincecum will end up at probably five million more annually—give or take a few million. 

This brings to light a legitimate question: Can the Giants afford to pay two players who play twice a week 47 million dollars a year? 

I say they can and the prospects knocking on the door are exactly why they can afford it.

The Giants have long known that they would have to pay these guys if they performed as they hoped, and perform they have. 

Brian Sabean, Larry Baer and the powers that be did not wake up this morning and find out that they would have to give Matt Cain the largest contract ever given to a right-handed pitcher in the history of the game, nor will they be shocked to learn that they will have to do it all over again in two years.

They have planned for it all along and will make it work; it's their ticket to success.

In the next few years, the Giants could conceivably field an infield of Pablo Sandoval, Brandon Crawford, Joe Panik and Brandon Belt. 

With Buster Posey behind the plate and Gary Brown in center field, there is potential for a relatively inexpensive offensive core. 

Potential is the key word, as most of those guys have a ton to prove, but their respective ceilings are very high. 

Those ceilings are what the Giants are banking on so they can comfortably spend on pitching.

What this Matt Cain deal proved today is that the Giants haven't been telling tales when they have preached their commitment to keeping this pitching staff intact. 

It proved that Tim Lincecum will get paid by the Giants and that fans should not worry about it. 

It also proved that Giants fans should never hope that their team goes all in on top offensive free agents. 

If the long term plan works out, they won't need to.