Monday, April 2, 2012

Cain's extension, and what it means to the Yankees

Via MLBTradeRumors, Matt Cain and the San Francisco Giants have agreed to an extension. The deal extends Cain for 5 years after 2012, and guarantees Matt $112.5 million. Cain receives a $5 million signing bonus, will get $20 million per season between 2013 and 2017, and includes a club/vesting option (based on a healthy 2017 season) worth $21 million with a buyout of $7.5 million. So the annual average value of the contract for 2013-2017 will be $22.5 million (Matt's making $15 million this season).

Buster Olney, via Twitter, pointed out that Cole Hamels is now slated to be "far and away" the #1 free agent after the season. That's not #1 free agent pitcher, that's #1 free agent overall. Which will be an incredible bargaining tool for Hamels, ensuring that he'll get paid more than what Cain just got.

What does that mean for the Yankees? Well, I think that makes the Michael Pineda acquisition even better. After this season the Yankee rotation, minus Pineda, could include CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, and Phil Hughes. Hiroki Kuroda, Freddy Garcia, and Andy Pettitte are on one year deals, and it's not a certainty what-so-ever that even one of those three will be back in pintripes come next season. Even if we were to assume one of the AAA kids could take a rotation spot, that still leaves a nice hole in the rotation.

I'll stop here to point out that it's extremely unlikely the Yankees would enter a season with two rookies in the rotation. So anybody out there thinking "the Yankees could fill the rotation with two of Banuelos, Betances, Warren, Phelps, and Mitchell" can put their hands down now.

That would mean the Yankees might think of nabbing Cole Hamels, which could really throw a wrench into the team's future, since he'd cost an AAV of at least $23 million. They already have just under $119 million tied into 5 players for 2013, and that doesn't include the options for Cano ($15m) and Granderson ($13m), nor does it figure that Mariano Rivera will be a free agent. And what about possibly re-signing Swisher, or signing his replacement, for 2013?

If you didn't before, now you see why I and other Yankees fans were so excited about the trade for Pineda. Michael won't even reach his first year of arbitration eligibility until 2014, and won't be a free agent until 2017. Even as a bottom of the rotation starter he has great value to this team, and it's desire to get under a $189 million payroll in 2014 and 2015. But as a #3 or higher starter? Yeah, we'll be kissing Brian Cashman's feet quite a bit in the future.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)