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.

Sandy Alderson thinks Tim Tebow will play in the major leagues

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Based on his track record so far I don’t think Tim Tebow deserves to play in the major leagues on the merits. Not even close. But then again, I’m not the general manager of the New York Mets, so I don’t get a say in that.

Sandy Alderson is the general manager, so his say carries a lot of weight. To that end, here’s what he said yesterday:

Noting the Tebow experiment has “evolved” into something greater, general manger Sandy Alderson on Sunday said, “I think he will play in the major leagues.”

To be fair, Alderson is pretty up front about the merits of Tebow’s presumed advancement to the bigs at some point. He didn’t say that it’s because Tebow has played his way up. He said this:

“He is great for the team, he is great for baseball, he was phenomenal for minor league baseball last year. The notion that he should have been excluded from the game because he is not coming through the traditional sources, I think is crazy. This is entertainment, too. And he quietly entertains us . . . He benefits the Mets because of how he conducts himself. He’s a tremendous representative of the organization.”

I take issue with Alderson’s comment about people thinking he shouldn’t be in the game because of his background. Most people who have been critical of the Tebow experiment have been critical because there is no evidence that he’s a good enough baseball player to be given the opportunities he’s been given. I mean, he advanced to high-A last year despite struggling at low-A and he’s going to start at Double-A this year in all likelihood despite struggling in high-A. If he does make the bigs, it will likewise come despite struggles in Double-A and maybe Triple-A too.

That said: I don’t mind if they promote Tebow all the way up as long as they’re being honest about why they’re doing it and aren’t trying to get everyone on board with some cockamamie idea that Tebow belongs on the baseball merits. If they do put him in the majors it’ll be because he’s a draw and a good promotion and because people generally like him and he’s not hurting anyone and I can’t take issue with that.

That’s basically what Alderson is saying here and if that’s the case, great. I mean, not great, because Tebow in the bigs will likely also mean that the Mets aren’t playing meaningful games, but great in the sense of “fine.” Baseball is entertainment too. No sense in pretending it isn’t.