The Giants are still trying to sign Matt Cain

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The last time we heard about the Giants contract talks with Matt Cain, we heard they were going nowhere.  Funny how your arch rivals being sold for $2 billion to a bunch of guys who sound like they want to spend money can change things:

The San Francisco Giants are committed to keeping All-Star right-hander Matt Cain in their talented rotation beyond 2012, and CEO and president Larry Baer said Thursday that serious conversations are ongoing with the pitcher’s representatives.

“We’re earnestly working with his agents … It wouldn’t be good to forecast it. All I know is there are discussions, and the discussions have been continuing.”

Cain is going to make a lot of money wherever he goes. But whether it pertains to Cain or to other players in the future, the Giants — and the rest of the NL West — is probably going to have to get used to the idea that, eventually, the Dodgers are going to start spending boatloads of money and behaving very much like the Yankees or the Red Sox.

If they want to compete when that happens, they need to start thinking about how to do that now. They can’t wait until they become the west coast version of the Orioles.

Imagining Theo Epstein in politics

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“When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.”

Or: “When Theo Epstein won World Series championships with the two most championship-starved franchises in baseball history, he got bored, and decided to run for the Senate or something.”

That latter bit is the premise of a Politico piece speculating that the Cubs president could go into politics one day. The story features an interview with former Obama chief strategist David Axlerod, who thinks Theo has what it takes. Mostly what he has is fame, popularity, good looks and money. No idea what his positions on issue are, but that other stuff goes a long way in politics these days.

Bonus: given what we just elected last fall, a guy who once had a little temper tantrum and dressed up in a gorilla suit is just as viable a candidate as anyone.

Another interestingly named player is promoted by the Pirates

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When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.

The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.

Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.

It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.

Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.