|This is Matt Cain's I CAN HAZ KONTRAKT face. It works.|
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports points out that Kevin Brown, the only right-handed pitcher in history to obtain a $100MM deal, signed his contract 13 years ago and suggests the market is ready for a correction by a present-day right-hander such as Cain.Wait what?
You're telling me that, with all the $100-million deals flying around, the only one to go to a right-handed pitcher, which happens to be the most market-saturated position in baseball at all levels, was KEVIN BROWN?
Oh wait. Kevin Brown.
That guy. That guy, at age 34, earned a 7-year, $105M contract from (who else) the Los Angeles Dodgers (wait what?) in 1999 to make him the richest pitcher in history. Kevin Brown. Who at that point was coming off a year where he went 18-7 with a 2.38 ERA. Who had a career 3.30 ERA before signing his deal, and a career WHIP of 1.232, and a career K/BB ratio of 2.37.
So yeah, he was pretty good. But why has he become the ONLY $100M right-hander in history? His contract was signed 13 years ago. There have been six other pitchers since then to sign for over $100M, and all of them are left-handed. And two of them are CC Sabathia.
Sabathia ($161M, 2009), Johan Santana ($137.5M, 2008), Barry Zito ($126M, 2007), Sabathia ($122M, 2012), Mike Hampton ($121M, 2001), and Cliff Lee ($120M, 2011) are the only pitchers to have signed bigger contracts than Kevin Brown. Carlos Zambrano got the closest, signing a $91.5M deal with the Cubs in 2008, but no right-hander has come close.
Matt Cain seems in line to do so. Matt Cain, who has Matt Cained since he was 19 years old, and who will Matt Cain until he is 78 years old, should be paid a lot of money. Because he's better than a lot of pitchers out there. Matt Cain or Mike Hampton? Matt Cain or Carlos Zambrano? Matt Cain or Kevin Brown?
Cain is still only 26 years old. And although he may not have led the league in wins (21, 1992) or ERA (1.89, 1996) or HBPs (16, 1996), but he is Matt Caining his way into being one of the best #2 starters in all of baseball.
In Brown's contract year, he had the following numbers:
In the final year of Cain's contract, he looks like this:
First of all. If any of you haven't seen Moneyball...wins don't count. At all. And Matt Cain fans have known that since 2005. Also, Kevin Brown had been pitching for TWELVE YEARS when he got his contract, so some of the numbers, and some of that maturity or whatever that you're supposed to gain in your thirties, hasn't even come to Matt Cain yet.
But Cain's WHIP is lower. His ERA is comparable. He gives up fewer hits and strikes out more guys. He doesn't hit people all the time. And if you go by WAR, they're both right at 3.6/year, according to Baseball Reference.
Anyway, I'm not really sure what I'm getting at. Just saying that I think that Matt Cain is better than Kevin Brown. Kevin Brown played for the Padres, the Dodgers, the Yankees, and the Rangers, among others. That's like seven teams that I don't particularly care for. Also, Matt Cain is awesome, and I high-fived him once.
And I still don't know how he became the only right-hander in history to get a $100M contract.
Please fix that.