Matt Cain is one season away from hitting the open market as a 28-year-old free agent and told Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com that he’s unlikely to discuss a long-term contract extension once spring training is over.
“We’d all like something resolved by the end of spring training,” Cain said. “I don’t think either side wants that to linger into the season.”
Baggarly describes the two sides as having “plenty of mutual interest” in an extension, but barring a major injury Cain is likely in line for a $100 million deal as a free agent.
His win-loss records have typically been underwhelming because of poor run support, but Cain has thrown 200-plus innings in five straight seasons while posting ERAs of 3.65, 3.76, 2.89, 3.14, and 2.88. Rarely does a starting pitcher of that quality become a free agent at such a young age–he debuted at age 20–so it’s hard to imagine Cain not being able to get at least a six-year deal for huge money.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Nationals will ask to speak with Astros’ bench coach Alex Cora after the American League Championship Series concludes on Saturday. This comes on the heels of the news that club manager Dusty Baker will not be returning to the team in 2018.
Cora, 42, has some experience in the Nationals’ organization. He played for the Nats during his last big league stint in 2011, batting .224/.287/.276 through 91 games before announcing his retirement in the spring of 2012. Per Cafardo, he was also offered a player development gig with the club, but has not appeared in any kind of official role with them since his days as a major league infielder. While he’s been lauded for his leadership skills and strong clubhouse presence, he hasn’t acquired any managerial experience since his retirement, save for a handful of games with the Astros where he filled in for A.J. Hinch.
Despite the appeal of having a familiar face in the dugout, the Nationals aren’t the only ones eyeing Cora. The Astros’ coach has already interviewed with the Tigers, Mets and Red Sox this month. Boston appears to be the current favorite to land him and according to at least one source, may even announce his hiring in advance of the World Series next Tuesday.