San Francisco Giants: 6 Reasons Matt Cain's Deal Will Hurt Team Long Term
The San Fransisco Giants agreed to a huge contract with right-hander Matt Cain last week and the groundbreaking deal is one of the largest ever for a pitcher.
The move is necessary for San Francisco to compete short-term, but it will end up costing the Giants more than they ever could have bargained for.
There is no denying that Cain is a top-level pitcher. He is only 27 and could have some very good seasons for the duration of the deal, but throwing money at pitchers is always a crap shoot.
Arm injuries and ineffectiveness all occur at some time or another for most major league throwers and giving big money to a pitcher like Cain almost never pays off. He is young and talented, but also a risk—like so many others before him.
Here are some examples of pitchers who were rewarded with big contracts, only to end up being bad investments for their respective teams.
Kevin Brown: 7 Years/ $105 Million
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The poster child for bad contracts is deal that made Kevin Brown the first $100 million man in baseball history.
Brown sprinkled in a few good seasons during his five years in Los Angeles, but injuries derailed his career and the right-hander only averaged nine wins a year for the Dodgers.
The contract is also considered by some to be one of the worst deals in sports history.
Mike Hampton: 8 Years/ $121 Million
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If Kevin Brown was the poster child for bad contracts, Mike Hampton has to be the gold standard.
Hampton signed a ridiculous $121 million deal in 2000 while he was one the best pitchers in baseball. He signed with the Colorado Rockies and was thought to be the cure for their pitching woes.
Hampton failed to meet expectations with the Rockies, winning only 21 games in two seasons and having an ERA over five.
Hampton was traded twice in 2002 when he finally ended up with the Atlanta Braves. All is not lost in the career of Hampton, as the lefty won five Silver Slugger awards for being the best hitting pitcher in his respective league.
Brandon Webb: 4 Years/ $19 Million
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Usually, $5 million a year is chump change compared to the money some pitchers have received in the past.
However, If you consider the fact Brandon Webb has not pitched in a major league game for three seasons, he deserves a spot on this list.
Webb was one of the premier pitchers in the league before a shoulder injury cost him his career. A fifthly sinker ball made Webb the National League Cy Young Award winner in 2006 and Arizona rewarded him with an extension.
After his injury cost him the the 2009 season, the Diamondbacks picked up the $8.5 million option on Webb's deal, showing faith that he would rebound from surgery.
Webb never did.
After missing two seasons in Arizona, Webb signed with the Rangers and has only pitched in minor league rehab assignments. His shoulder has healed, but the command of his pitches has yet to return.
Barry Zito: 7 Years/ $126 Million
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Barry Zito's curveball made him one of the most feared pitchers in the game during the early part of the decade and, in 2006, it made him one of the most wealthy.
Zito made the trip across the bay to San Francisco that season and was never quite himself after he left Oakland.
He lost command of his curve and has never posted an ERA under four for the Giants, while even being demoted to the bullpen at times.
Johon Santana: 6 Years/ $137.5 Million
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After the trade, the Mets gave Santana a huge contract and it seemed like a no-brainer. Santana was considered a pretty safe bet, but even he could not live up the enormous deal he received.
Santana has been injured in all but one of his seasons in New York and is proof that even signing the game's best pitcher is a gamble.
Tim Lincecum: 2 Years/ $40.5 Million
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Obviously, Tim Lincecum is not underperforming or in the middle of huge long-term contract, but the new deal for Cain raises many questions about the status of "The Freak" in San Francisco.
Lincecum signed a short extension in the offseason that will keep him a Giant until the end of the 2013 season.
If Lincecum performs well, he could be in line for an enormous deal and one of the largest in history.
How much money are the Giants, or some other team for that matter, willing to gamble with?