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.
The Red Sox are expecting to go to an arbitration hearing with left-handed reliever Fernando Abad, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski said there was a “decent chance” a hearing would be necessary after countering Abad’s $2.7 million request with $2 million.
Abad, 31, pitched just 12 2/3 innings for Boston after the club acquired him from Minnesota at the trade deadline last season. The lefty earned a cumulative 3.66 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.9 SO/9 for the two teams in 2016. He received $1.25 million in 2016 and will remain under club control (through arbitration) in 2017. A $2.7 million salary would be a hefty increase for the veteran reliever, who has seen a significant decline since he put up a 1.57 ERA for the Athletics in 2014 and who has not amassed more than 0.6 fWAR in any single season to date.
While the Red Sox aren’t close to settling with Abad, Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports that they may be closing in on a settlement with left-handed starter Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz filed at $5.7 million, while the Sox felt more comfortable at $3.6 million. The two are expected to meet somewhere in the middle to avoid an arbitration hearing later this winter.
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.