UPDATE: Giants hand Cain three-year extension

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cain headshot.JPGUPDATE:  Baggarly hears that Cain’s salary will remain at $4.5 million this season, but jumps to around $8 million in 2011 and north of $15 million for 2012.  All things considered, it’s a great deal for the Giants.

3:38pm:  The San Francisco Chronicle’s Henry Schulman reports that it’s a three-year deal. Cain is getting a restructured sum this year and a raise on his $6.25 million option in 2011. Financial terms aren’t yet available, though it’s safe to guess that he will also be making big bucks in 2012.

3:20pm:  Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News hears that the Giants will announce an extension for right-hander Matt Cain on Sunday afternoon.

It has been a busy few days in Giants camp, with left-handed setup man Jeremy Affeldt landing a two-year, $9.5 million contract extension on Wednesday and 28-year-old closer Brian Wilson agreeing to a new deal just a few days later.

It’s not clear what kind of money Cain will receive.  He’s just 25 years of age and went 14-8 last season with a 2.89 ERA and 1.18 WHIP, so we’d have to think his asking price was fairly high in negotiations.  The righty is entering the final season of a four-year, $9 million extension signed back in 2007.  That deal included a $6.25 million club option for 2011.

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉