SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Noah Lowry used the calendar to put Matt Cain's brand-new deal with the Giants in perspective.
"When he's done with that contract, he'll be almost my age," Lowry said.
He's largely correct. At 26, Lowry's still a relative pup. But Cain, 22, will only be 26 by the end of the 2010 season, when the four-year, $9 million contract that he signed Thursday expires. The Giants also hold an option for the 2011 season, meaning that Cain's contractual value is locked in through the years in which he's eligible for salary arbitration....
The Giants seized upon an opportunity to hold onto their own last year by signing Lowry to a four-year, $9.25 million extension with a $6.25 million option for 2010. Sabean indicated that Cain, who earned $328,000 last season, received a deal with similar parameters....
Cain proved he was a keeper last season by finishing 13-12 with a 4.15 ERA. Showing his flair for the spectacular, the right-hander became the first pitcher since 1957 to carry either a no-hitter or a one-hitter through the fifth inning in five starts....
Cain's signing places four members of the Giants' starting rotation under contract through at least 2008. Besides him and Lowry, San Francisco signed Barry Zito to a celebrated seven-year, $126 million deal through 2013 (with an option for 2014) and Matt Morris' three-year deal expires after next season.
Is it possible that Matt Cain will outperform the considerably costlier Barry Zito? Watch and see, and then compare how Ned Colletti treats Chad Billingsley.
UPDATE: Dayn Perry projects Cain as one of his "Top 10 breakout performers for 2007":
5. Matt Cain, SP, Giants
Cain's second-half numbers from 2006 tell the story. Before the break, he logged a 5.12 ERA, 80 strikeouts and 47 walks in 91.1 innings, and after the break he logged a 3.26 ERA, 99 strikeouts and 40 walks in 99.1 innings. That's obvious progress. There's some concern that Cain's control problems and fly-ball tendencies will keep him from achieving Cy Young status, but he still profiles as an ace.