SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants did more than pack their lockers as they broke camp Sunday. The front office also tried to wrap up right-hander Matt Cain.
Sources tell me that the volume of dialogue has increased between the Giants and Cain's representatives as Friday's soft deadline edges near. Cain reiterated on Saturday that he sees the start of the season as a "cutoff" to ensure he stays focused on baseball.
He'll be a free agent after the season if no deal is reached; the two sides would have a small window of exclusive negotiating rights after the year, particularly if the Giants miss the playoffs or are sent to an early exit.
Cain hasn't let himself appear distracted on the mound this spring. In six Cactus League exhibitions, he was 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA and had a 24-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Coaches and teammates remarked that Cain was in a consistently sunny mood and also appeared to be in the best shape of his career.
It remains to be seen whether the Giants and Cain's agents will come to an agreement that satisfies both parties, but sources say the right-hander's camp has not shown any signs of lowering the asking price. It's believed that five years and 100 million is an absolute floor in negotiations; it's not known if the Giants have even offered that much, although club CEO Larry Baer said on an online chat with fans that the club was not making "lowball" offers to their longest tenured player.