Cain keeping tabs on Hamels and Philly

Cain keeping tabs on Hamels and Philly
February 21, 2012, 10:30 pm
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SCOTTSDALE,Ariz. Their words were so similar, they couldve been reading from the samescript.OnMonday in Phillies camp, left-hander Cole Hamels spent 44 minutes tellingreporters how he loves Philadelphia and hopes to commit long term. But whenasked about accepting a hometown discount, he gracefully dodged the question.He talked about his passion for winning, instead.Youwonder if he called Matt Cain and asked him to send over his transcript fromthe Giants FanFest earlier this month.Iliked the part when they asked if his agent was talking to the team right now,Cain told me. And he said, I know theyre supposed to. That was pretty funny.Yes,Cain is paying attention to Hamels. And for good reason. Swap out their names,change Phillies to Giants and replace left-hander with right-hander.Then try to spot the differences in the two stories.Bothare highly regarded, highly intelligent, durable aces. Both are decorated inthe postseason. (Cain has a 0.00 ERA in three playoff starts, while Hamels is aWorld Series MVP.) Both will hit the open market after making 15 million thisseason. Both have spent their entire careers with the same organization, andtheir well-heeled clubs are keen on bringing them back. Yeah,but hes got longer hair, said Cain, a reference to Hamels Hollywood flair.I dont have as good a figure.Thefigures that really matter are impressive and similar. Hamels, 28, is 74-54with a 3.39 ERA in five seasons. He has a 2.92 ERA and struck out 405 battersthe last two years. Cain, 27, is 69-73 with a 3.35 ERA in six-plus seasons. Hehas a 3.01 ERA and struck out 356 batters the last two years.Theresalso a shared assumption that both are comfortable where they are and wouldaccept a friendly deal to stay something in line with the five-year, 85million that Jered Weaver signed with the Angels. Its not an entirely accurateperception and its certainly not helpful to either pitcher, although Hamelscamp has taken more aggressive steps to combat it.Hamels'agent, John Boggs, told CSN Phillies Insider Jim Salisbury in January thatWeaver was not a fair comparable.Thatcontract is great for Jered. I understand it. But he took a different path andleft a lot of money on the table, Boggs said. He came up through the Angelssystem and grew up in their backyard. Hes pitching where he grew up. Thatsituation appeals to him. Its a similar situation to when I had Tony Gwynn.Without getting into specifics of what were looking for, the Weaver situationis unique to Weaver.Hamelsis a SoCal kid pitching in Philly. The speculation is that hed love pitchingin Dodger blue. Cains motivations are a little different. He is from the Memphisarea, but he met his wife, Chelsea, in Scottsdale and they spend most of theoffseason in Arizona.ItsChelsea who made sure to monitor everything Hamels said on Monday.Oh,shes good about that, Cain said. Ive never been a huge guy to readeverything. She tells me whats going on all over the league. She keeps me inline and thats good for me.Baseballis about to be very good to the Cain clan, whether they reach free agency ornot. Some agents believe that if Cain hits the open market, he'd command a contract greater than the six-year, 137.5 million that Johan Santana got from the Mets in 2008. More recently,C.J. Wilson signed afive-year, 77.5 million deal with the Angels in December but only after turning down sixyears and almost 100 million from the Florida Marlins.AndWilson doesnt have the resume to match Cain or Hamels, who would be the clearstars of the free-agent pitching class next winter. If one signs a long-term deal this spring, it will provide a clear template for the other.
Sois Cain waiting for Hamels to set the market with an extension? Or vice versa?Itdoes seem like it happens that way, Cain said. You end up waiting on otherguys to get a deal done. But you never really know whats going on with them,and they dont know whats going on with us.Soyou cant sit there and wait. Youve got to do your homework on your own.Cainlaughed.Idont know, he said. I guess I should call him and see whats going on,right?