How Matt Cain Deal Will Affect Zack Greinke Contract Negotiations

By Michael Terrill

San Francisco Giants starter Matt Cain signed an incredible six-year, $127.5 million contract extension making him the highest-paid right-hander in Major League Baseball history. There is no doubt the deal will have a great effect on other pitchers, including Milwaukee Brewers starter Zack Greinke.

Greinke will be a free agent at the end of the 2012 season which means Milwaukee’s management must work fast and efficiently if they want to sign the right-hander long term. Greinke has given little insight to the media on what his plans are, revealing only that he is currently without an agent and does not plan on hiring one any time soon.

When Brewers general manager Doug Melvin was asked what his take on the Cain signing was and how it would affect Greinke, he had little to offer as well.

“There will be an impact, I’m sure,” said Melvin, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Any signing impacts other players who haven’t signed. I’d have to say Matt Cain is a very rich man. That’s about all I can say.”

Greinke will have a lot riding on this season and will have to step his game up if he wants to get anywhere near the deal Cain signed. Typically, contract extensions for pitchers such as Greinke, usually the ace or second starter, get five years with anywhere between $80 and $85 million. However, Cain has upped the ante on that which means a solid year for Greinke could mean big trouble for the Brewers front office.

There are several teams Greinke would be considered an ace on but on big market teams, and small market teams with a talented pitching staff such as the Brewers, he simply is not. That means the contract will drop in price which could favor Milwaukee. However, if he puts up incredible numbers this season which is something he is more than capable of doing (we are talking about a former Cy Young Award winner) then another big-time contract could be in the works.

The following are Cain and Greinke’s statistics from the 2011 season.

Matt Cain 33 221.2 12 11 179 2.88 1.08
Zack Greinke 28 171.2 16 6 201 3.83 1.20


As you can see, the stats are very comparable. Greinke played in fewer games because he missed the first month of the season with a fractured rib he suffered during a pick-up basketball game. However, despite pitching in 50 less innings Greinke still managed to strike out 22 more batters. He also won four more games and had five fewer losses. The one stat that Cain excelled at is the earned run average which is the most important stat for a pitcher. A 2.88 ERA in 221.2 innings pitched is outstanding.

For now, Greinke will give no indication what he plans on doing and when he plans on doing it. The only person he says a word to about his future is his wife, who will not be telling anyone anything. If Greinke can play anywhere near the way he pitched during his Cy Young season, he will not only be helping the Brewers repeat as NL Central Division champs but he will also help his own cause in getting one heck of a contract.

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