Thursday, April 5, 2012
Votto, Cain Sign Extensions
Earlier this week the Giants signed star pitcher Matt Cain to a six year, 126 million dollar extension. Right after that the Reds made Joey Votto a Red for life. Votto was eligible for free agency after the 2013 season, but the Reds signed him to a ten year, 225 million dollar extension that starts in 2014. Personally, I think baseball players get paid an outrageous amount of money. However, I don't feel sorry for the billionaire owners that spend the money. I'm a fan of the game and try to ignore the business side. But it is cool that teams are keeping their big stars. Just this offseason Matt Kemp, Yadier Molina, Andrew McCutchen, and Alex Gordon have all signed big extensions to stay with their original clubs.
I never would of thought a couple years ago that Votto would be a Red for life and Albert Pujols would take the free agent route out of town. With Pujols and Prince Fielder gone to the American League, Votto is clearly the best first baseman in the National League. He's already won a MVP, made two All Star teams in his 4 and a half big league seasons. He'll be the face of the franchise and now has the potential to be one of the best Reds players ever. But he will be 30 when his new deal kicks in. Todd Helton signed a huge deal a decade ago to stay a Rockie for life, and he had his best years before the big money kicked in. He's still a good hitter, but no longer hits for power like he used too and was paid $20 mil last year. 2011 was the end of that deal, but Helton and the Rockies agreed to a smaller deal for him to finish out his career their.
With Votto signed and multiple second base prospects in the Reds system, it looks like Brandon Phillips will walk after this year. Votto's deal is the fourth biggest contract of alltime, and the Reds aren't known as big spenders. Votto's deal was the third $200 million plus deal this offseason following the Pujols and Fielder deals. The Dodgers are probably upset by this deal, it was rumored that they would make a run for Votto since they got new ownership.
Cain got the biggest contract ever given to a right handed pitcher this week. The previous high was Kevin Brown's deal with the Dodgers over a decade ago. Brown was much older at the time than Cain is as well. Strangely, Cain has a career losing record at 69-73 but a lifetime ERA of 3.35. Cain suffered through two tough luck seasons in 2007(7-16, 3.65 ERA) and 2008(8-14, 3.76 ERA) on poor Giants teams skewing his record. He had a dominant postseason in 2010 pitching 21.1 scoreless innings. Cain has also posted sub-3.00 ERAs two of the last three seasons.
Matt Cain is a hell of a pitcher, but he's not even the best pitcher on his own team. I can't imagine what kind of money Tim Lincecum is going to get. He's signed for two more years and I would imagine the Giants are working on him next. But, he's going to want more than Cain got, so it will be interesting to see if the Giants are able to do that. Cole Hamels and Zack Greinke are probably both thrilled about the Cain deal since they are both eligible for free agency after the season.
Cardinal Notes: I know its only one game into the season, but the Cardinals looked impressive last night in Miami. Matt Holliday was held hitless and the Cardinals still won handidly. David Freese carried his knack for clutch hits over to this year going 3 for 5 with 2 RBIs. I was also pleased to see the Cardinals more active on the basepaths. Rafeal Furcal stole a bag, and Jon Jay attempted to but was thrown out. Kyle Lohse pitched a hell of a game last night as well. I'm not sure what that thing is behind center field in Marlins Park, but it is goofy looking.