Update: The Giants and Matt Cain have reached an agreement on a 5 year extension through 2017 with a club/vesting player option for 2018.
It is a 100M deal plus a $5M signing bonus. In addition there is a $7.5m buyout on the club/vesting player option for 2018.
The clock is ticking quickly on Matt Cain's possible extension: it's been understood that the deadline, however soft, is April 4, when the Giants season begins. That is Thursday, and this is no April Fool's joke.
Cain emphasized recently that while there is no actual stated, hard deadline, April 4 is the "cutoff." Which explains exactly why, according to a report from Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com, contract discussions began to "heat up" over the weekend.
“Well, if the season starts, it’s a cutoff and that’s kind of what we’re thinking about,” Cain said recently. “Neither one of us wants that lingering over our heads. [GM Brian] Sabean has been great about that.”
So the Giants have 72 hours or so to whip through negotiations and get a deal done that will keep Cain from becoming a free agent after the 2012 season.
"Sources tell me that the volume of dialog has increased between the Giants and Cain's representatives as Friday's soft deadline edges near," Baggarly wrote.
Baggarly also reports that Cain's "camp has not shown any signs of lowering the asking price" on what they want from this contract and believes that "five years and $100 million is an absolute floor" in terms of what Cain is willing to take from the Giants.
That puts the Giants in between a rock and a hard place of sorts: if they cave and pay Cain, they're only going to set themselves up for a higher contract for Tim Lincecum in two years. And if they don't cave and pay him, someone else will.
And it could even be someone like the Dodgers.
Which is why the Giants should have a renewed sense of urgency in the next several days to get something done. Yes, they have an exclusive window to negotiate with Cain after the season's over, but it's a short window and the lure of full-bore free agency may be too appealing to pull something off then.
As we've seen, even the most fan-friendly of players -- ahem, Albert Pujols -- are not safe once they hit the open market. Cain could get involved in a bidding war between the Yankees and the Dodgers and the Giants would be stuck at home, wiping away the tears of his departure with a copy of Barry Zito's contract.
So, yeah, the next three days are pretty important for the future of Matt Cain as a Giant.