Matt Cain takes a Non-Confrontational Approach to Contract Negotiations and Becomes Highest Paid Right-Hander in Baseball History

The San Francisco Giants locked up a major piece of their young pitching core this week by working out a contract extension for All-Star Matt Cain. The right-hander has now signed a contract that is for six years, $127.5 million, with a player option for 2018 that would bring the grand total to $141 million. Some more jaw dropping numbers include $112.5 million of fully guaranteed money over the next five years. This move comes after Giants GM Brian Sabean handed out a $40.5 million, two-year contract to two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum in late January. Pitching wins championships as the old baseball saying goes, and in the Bay Area, the Giants pulled out all the stops to keep their pitching staff intact for years to come. Matt Cain joined KNBR in San Francisco with Razor and Mr.T to discuss his contract negotiations with the San Francisco Giants finishing up before the regular season started, being involved in the contract negotiations for his extension, any doubt of the contract extension getting done, the thought of testing the free agent market and taking a non-confrontational approach to his contract negotiations with the Giants.

What were the contract negotiations like? You said the contract negotiations couldn’t last into the regular season? What would have happened if they did?

“It was just interesting. It was something that we’ve obviously had negotiations in the past, but it hasn’t been this extensive. It was just both sides were on board with kind of just really pushing everything and it was just interesting to see that business side of it because I maybe not stayed out of it in the past, but I was definitely very, very involved and everybody was really working hard on both sides.”

Were you in all of the contract meetings with your agent or only some of them?

“No I wasn’t involved in any of the actual conversations or meetings they had together, but obviously everything was getting relayed right back to me.”

Was there ever a time during this process where you didn’t think this contract negotiation would get done?

“You know there might have been times, but both sides were very, very motivated to put their best foot forward and I think that is what came out of it.”

What would it have hurt if you tested the free agent waters and then came back to the Giants?

“What could it have hurt? You gotta think of the risk and the reward. Obviously you are going to put strain on your body going through hopefully another 200-innings plus season and just the grind of a season is very difficult then you put the mental side of it on there as well where you never really know how you are going to react to the mental side of it until you go through with it. It wasn’t that I didn’t think I was capable of doing it, but it just made no sense to have to worry about it.”

You’ve never been a confrontational kind of guy. You’ve never made any demands. Did you and your agent decide that should be your position in these negotiations?

“I just think it was the best way to go about it. I think [Giants GM Brian] Sabean even said it. He was one of the first ones that said it. We didn’t want to have any distractions going into this season. Once the season started we wanted to be thinking about the 2012 season and worried about getting to the World Series, so once the season started that’s what we wanted our main goal to be.”

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