Sunday, March 16, 2008

Why I Love Cain!!!

In today's Mercury, Andrew Baggarly has a nice article on Cain and comments on his greatness from competing players in the NL West:
  • Peavy: "Dude can pitch, man. Do me a favor and tell him I like his style."
  • Webb: "Guys ask about myself and Peavy all the time. But (Cain) is one of the top pitchers in the league, too. I definitely feel for where he's at." (Webb was 7-16 with 3.59 ERA - ranked 15th - when the Diamondbacks lost 111 games in '04; Cain was 7-16 for the Giants last season).
  • Peavy again: "He is as good as anybody in the N.L. on a given day. He's a big, strong kid who's going to hold up. He's going to eat innings. I love the mentality, the vibe you get when he's on the mound. I love to see a pitcher stand up for himself and be a competitor on the mound. I totally get that vibe from him."
  • Holliday: "I'd sure take him on our staff. There is no doubt he's one of the top young pitchers in the league. He's in the top tier of pitchers in general. He's got a great fastball that moves and he can pitch inside."

Now here are some great quotes from Cain:

  • "It's just not respecting the game when that stuff happens, and that's why I get upset about it. That's kind of my little area on the mound and I guard it. I don't want anybody to mess with it, and that's the way I take it. You want to own the mound and you want to own the plate, too. That's my mentality all the time." (said in reference to when Scott Hairston flipped his bat after homer off Cain)
  • "There's so much to learn. I definitely look up to Webb and Peavy, Maddux, all those guys. I can learn from them. I can learn from Timmy (Lincecum), even though he doesn't have as much (service) time. I just don't ever think I'm bigger than the game."
That's what I love about Cain. He's a huge competitor and wants to be the best. Yet, despite how well he has pitched so far, his ego is totally in check, he is totally self-effacing and just looking to get better all the time. He has shown this attitude from day One and has not veered from it. And he's only 22 years old, turning 23 in October. I hope the Giants are able to sign him to an nice extension when the time is appropriate and keep him as a Giant for a long time.

Over his career I have seen fans suggest that we need to trade Matt Cain to fix other parts of the team. To me, that's like cutting off your arm, you don't trade a Matt Cain, you keep him around for a long time.

Shame on any Giants fan who even thought of trading Matt Cain at any point. Shame!!!


  1. Great stuff! M.C. is my numero uno. He is so easy to picture in the NL pantheon with Peavy and Webb. (I hope we score some goddamn runs for the poor guy, one 7-16 season ought to be plenty.)

  2. My single biggest worry about '08, is the worry of driving Cain off by being so terrible. Essentially setting in motion a ticking clock to the day we have to trade him. As I've said elsewhere, the Bedard deal has created in my mind a new template for dealing with prospective FAs. The O's were able to turn Bedard into significantly more than the Twins were Santana in large part because they moved him a year earlier, giving the Mariners two years of controllable service time rather than the traditional one year rental hope you can resign him deal (also because the Twins overplayed their hand, but still). Teams are going to take notice of this and, typically, copy it.

    We're two years away from Cain being at 4 years service time (where Bedard was this offseason). If one or both of those seasons are last place with no hope seasons, a guy as competitive as Cain is going to start wanting out -- to go somewhere where he really can compete and play on a competitive team.

    To me, that's the shame. If we drive off one of the best players we've developed in decades because we can't put a non-last place team around him, that's just going to be a crying shame.

  3. Hey, Jeremy Bonderman wasn't haunted by his early years of losses and losing. I think you are giving Cain short shrift for loyalty and desire. He wants to be here, he loves being here, there's no place like the first place you made the majors (not that I know that firsthand, but I read enough, about him and about others).

    Is that really that good a deal for Bedard? My prospect book tags Chris Tillman as a potential #3 starter, and he was only in Advanced A last season, he still has to make it through AA, AAA, then majors, just to be a 3.

    Kam Mickolio is better, he has very nice command in AAA last season. He is tagged as a setup/closer, so that's good I'll admit.

    Butler is another #3 starter and he's not even out of A-ball yet, in fact, his move from short-season A-ball to A-ball was a disaster last season. He also has health issues that affected him. And he has been unable to control his pitches enough, his walks are way too high.

    Sherrill is already 31 years old. Maybe 2-3 years of arbitration with him, so he won't be the cheapest reliever. Very dominant pitcher, I will grant that, but he had a lucky year in 2007, his BABIP was way too low, regression will still leave him a good reliever, but I disagree with the talk of him being a closer, his 2005 and 2006 seasons are not closer worthy, and this discussion might be different if he were 26 and not 31.

    Lastly, Adam Jones. Jones is the real prize of the deal, but his MLEs for the past two years put him as a low to mid 800 OPS hitter, and he regressed on striking out too much last season, though the plus is that he showed more power doing that. But power like that is a premium in CF, so that's good.

    But Bedard is a premium lefty, good enough to be in the same discussion as Santana. For him, the O's got one sure thing in Sherrill, one very probable thing in Jones, and probably Mikolio, and two big question marks, who aren't that good when/if they do get up to the majors.

    Sorry, I don't consider that enough for one of the best lefties around. Just because it is better than Santana doesn't make it good.

    And Santana was drawing significantly more value early in the process with the bids by Yankees and Red Sox, the Twins newbie GM blew it, as you noted, by waiting until he had to accept the Mets deal, due to Santana's sudden ultimatum. He probably thought he had until the trade deadline, I guess he should have better gauged that with Johan. They got a lot of the Mets top prospects, but the Mets quality is severely below that of other teams because of their success in recent years (my familiar refrain).

    Last year was worse than it was suppose to be. They should have been middling again, in the 70's in wins, given their offense. This year's regression to the mean should result in the Giants doing better than last year despite losing Bonds, that's something most fans have been missing.

    Will it be winning baseball? No, most probably not. But it won't be the suckitude that many think it will be.

  4. Also, I'm more worried about Lincecum than Cain at this point. I don't know exactly how The Kid felt about being out on display like that in a rumored trade, but he didn't sound happy nor loyal with his comments afterward (not that I blame him, just that it is what it is).

    I'm not even sure that Sabean was ever even quoted as saying Lincecum was being offered in trade, he's usually much more tight-lipped than that, I think that was more media-hype based on a leak from the Mariners. So it could be the media to blame for any bad feelings on the part of Lincecum.

    FYI, I just got the Graphical Player 2008 Annual and their comment on Rios is this: "In a young career marked with high hopes and mild letdowns, Rios appears to be settling in as an average corner OF." There were some Giants fans who wanted Rios for Lincecum, "we HAVE to trade him", No, we don't have to trade him.

    While I'm at it, shame on those who were for trading Lincecum. Neither he nor Cain should be traded unless they force their way off the team.

    Both appears to be happy with the Giants, though Lincecum's comments were less than ringing endorsement, Cain is a Giant through and through, while Lincecum said that he wanted to stay because he was still adjusting and getting to know people. Hopefully he will get to know a lot of people and want to stay.

  5. Bonderman re-upped with a team that had just gone to the World Series, not a loser. Why would a kid from Tennessee have any loyalty to the SF Giants when it comes to his career. In the immortal words of Ricky Watters: for who? for what? Matt Cain has said before that he wants to be a Hall of Famer. At this point (and I'm sure the same will be said after '08) the amount of time in his career where he's been on an above .500 club can be counted in days. I think there were two last April. Maybe a few in mid-06 somewhere as well. That kind of atmosphere of chronic losing is toxic -- it turns any activity into drudgery. The idea that he'd willingly submit to more of it, sacrificing money and the opportunity to compete out of some arcane sense of loyalty is crazy. If this isn't turned around fast I don't see how we can keep him. And I don't see it turning around fast.

    I know the numbers you keep talking about but this looks like a dead-in-the-water punching the clock, going through the motions team to me that's going to struggle to avoid 100 loss season. We were a little unlucky last year, but we've lost significant power, haven't increase OBP abilities any, didn't even make an attempt to get decent players to fill the holes of one of the most pathetic infields I've ever seen, are blindly flying on hope that untried players will succeed in late inning relief situations, praying that we'll stay healthy becuase of thin depth (oops, too late). This is going to be an ugly clubhouse scene come July and an ugly stadium scene, too.

    When someone's really a competitor, they do what they can to get out of those kinds of scenes.

  6. First, I think it's a low blow to compare someone as team oriented as Cain to a self-centered player like Watters.

    I agree that there is a limit to the amount of losing a player can take before he becomes jaded and tired of it and dying to leave. If all happens as you say, yeah, he's probably gone.

    The main difference in opinion that I can see is that I believe the Giants can turn it around in that short a time.

    You say that we were a little unlucky in 2007. We were 6 whole games below where we should have been given our offense and pitching/defense. We should have been 77-85 instead of 71-91. For comparison, Arizona should have been 79-83 given their RS/RA.

    Yes, we lose Bonds and even Feliz could hurt too if Frandsen and/or Aurilia don't hit during the season well enough to offset the loss of defense from Feliz.

    But I think that Rowand can cover a lot of what we lose in Bonds. To that you add Roberts healthy over a full season vs. his poor hitting last season (I expect him to hit the DL every year, but for leg problems that don't affect his hitting, like it didn't affect him in 2005 or 2006; his elbow hurt him in 2007). I think we improve also by having Davis as his platoon buddy for 2007 as Davis does hit LHP well, just not RHP. Velez will probably add value there too.

    I think that Durham 2008 will be significantly better than Durham 2007 - he has to be to stick around else the Giants could go with Frandsen instead. And as bad as Ortmeier could be, he couldn't be much worse than the 1B we had the last two seasons.

    On top of that, the pitching is probably that much better in 2008 over 2007, particularly in the key bullpen positions of closer and setup, and even the rotation is better, Lincecum will there full season, Morris and Ortiz none, Zito should be better than 2007, Cain will be Cain, and Correia and Sanchez, between the two of them, should acquit themselves well in the back of the rotation.

    That to me spells .500 ball, approximately 77-80 wins. Add growth in pitching in 2009 plus another key offensive free agent, and the Giants should be over .500 in 2010 if not competitive if Villalona or the #5 draft pick are ready to come up and play in the majors. Plus Bumgarner and Alderson should be ready by then, and perhaps Noonan.

  7. ....of course by 2010, we will have almost lost control over Cain & Lincecum, the rest of the Giants will be ready to start collecting social security, and we will be right back to where we started. At least we will still have the bad years of Zito to look forward to at $18 to $20 Million per season at that point.



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