On the cusp of the beginning of the 2012 season, there are cheers of joy from the cities of San Francisco and Cincinnati. It was reported today that San Francisco starter Matt Cain would be signed to a 6-year $127 Million dollar contract to remain with the San Francisco Giants. There was grumblings that Cain might have tested the free agent market if he wasn't extended this season. In doing so, Cain becomes the highest paid right-handed starter in the majors. According to sources of Bob Nightingale of USA Today, Cain will also will have a full no-trade clause and there is a vesting option for 2018 that could bring the deal to $141 million. This is impressive since the Giants have seemed a bit hesitant (and with good reason)to spend big money and a long contract on a starter since they signed Barry Zito to a free-agent contract.
Moving East to Cincinnati, rumors have it that the Reds will sign their first-baseman and 2010 NL MVP Joey Votto to a contract extension. With the defections of Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols to the American League this past offseason, Votto arguably becomes the premier first-baseman in the National League.
So what do I think about these moves? Its good for the game of Baseball. I have no issue with players choosing to exercise their right to explore free-agency. Look at the example of Pujols, I believed that he had nothing to prove in staying in St. Louis. He did everything a player could have done there and in moving to Anaheim, he keeps his proverbial Baseball juices flowing. A move to the American League means new challenges in a virtual unconquered venue.
I also have no issue with players choosing to stay their whole career with one team. There is something romantic of the notion of players like Tony Gwynn, Craig Biggio and Derek Jeter starting as kids with their respective teams and retiring as elder statesmen in the same uniform. It harkens back to yesteryear when players basically played for one team (though there is nothing romantic with the reasons why since there was no free agency and could not leave the team unless facilitated by the owners, but that's a conversation for another post).
I've always said it that teams like the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox shouldn't always sign the best players on the market. Teams should be able to keep their best players so that their fans can have connections with players on their teams instead of asking like the guys at the coffee shop in the movie Major League: Who the "F" are these guys. More talent that is distributed around the league, the better the league is. Bravo San Francisco and Cincinnati in looking out for the best interest of your respective teams and fanbases.
For Further Reading:
- Click Here for Bob Nightengale's article from USA Today entitled Matt Cain signs $127 million deal; Joey Votto close, too dated April 2, 2012
- Click Here to Access Matt Cain's career statistics from Baseball-Reference.com
- Click Here to Access Joey Votto's career statistics from Baseball-Reference.com