Touch 'Em All: Cain deal sets Hamels' worth

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP file photo)

One of the lamentable things about baseball is that you're forced to spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about paying the players, as opposed to watching the players play.

So the news that Matt Cain became the highest paid righthanded pitcher of all time is not just great news for the San Francisco starter. It also will have implications for the Phillies.

Cain and the Giants agreed Monday to a monster, $127.5 million, six-year contract. The agreement adds $112.5 million over five years to his $15 million salary for 2012.

Among pitchers, only the Yankees' CC Sabathia ($161 million) and the Mets' Johan Santana ($137 million), both lefthanders, agreed to larger contracts.

The old record contract for a righthander was Kevin Brown's $105 million, seven-year deal with the Dodgers after the 1998 season.

The 27-year-old Cain went 12-11 last season with a 2.88 ERA, reaching 200 innings for the fifth straight season.

If you're playing along at home, consider: Phillies lefthander Cole Hamels is 28, and was 14-9, with a 2.79 ERA last season. He has reached 200 innings in three of the last four seasons and 193 in the fourth.

His career record is 74-54 and, like Cain (whose career record is 69-73) has a near-perfect postseason run (2008) under his belt.

So if Cain is worth $22.5 million a season, Hamels' worth is about $23. Million.

Hamels, who will earn $15 million this season, politely declined to get involved.

"I am not addressing it," Hamels said. "I did address it in spring training."

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. also declined comment.

But Hamels' deal is just the beginning. Before the ink was dried on Cain's contract, stories arrived asking what it means to teammate Tim Lincecum (who just signed a two-year deal for a paltry $40 million).

What will it mean to the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw, or to the Red Sox and Jon Lester? What'll it cost now to sign Zach Greinke, who (like Kershaw and Lincecum) is a Cy Young Award winner?

Let the games begin.



Cleveland's Ubaldo Jimenez was suspended for five games and fined by Major League Baseball for intentionally throwing at Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki during a game on Sunday.

Josh Beckett went to Texas to have his injured thumb examined, although Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said he still expected the righthander to make his scheduled start at Detroit this weekend.

Mets closer Frank Francisco had an MRI on his left knee Monday, a day after fluid was drained.


Contact Don McKee at

This article contains information from the Associated Press.