SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Giants CEO Larry Baer said the team remains in active negotiations with representatives for Matt Cain and sought to repair what he described as a mischaracterization that the club is making a lowball offer to their prized right-hander."We're both working very hard," said Baer on Thursday, responding to fan questions on a streaming web chat on sfgiants.com. "Our desire is for him toremain a Giant. Theres nothing weve seen from him that shows his desire isnot to be. We just keep plugging along."Theres been a lot ofmischaracterizations with hard-and-fast deadline or were lowballing him. Thoseare uneducated. I cant promise it will or wont happen thats going toultimately be the process of negotiation and Matts decision."The Giants and Cain have a soft deadline to conclude negotiations by the April 6 season opener, but that is more of a preference than a hard action date. Cain has said he is willing to listen to "anything of fair value." According to sources familiar with the talks, the two sides have been substantially far apart on determining that value.Baer said he didn't want to put a percentage on the chances of locking up Cain, 27, who would be a free agent after this season."Wed like to keep the homegrown players that areperforming and Matt Cain is at the top of the list," Baer said. "Weve been earnest in negotiationswith Matts representatives. We continue to be. Were working hard. Theyreworking hard."Last month, Giants GM Brian Sabean said the club has the wherewithal to sign both Cain and Tim Lincecum to long-term contracts. Lincecum agreed to a two-year, 40.5 million deal over the winter that will take him through the remainder of his arbitration eligibility but will not buy out any of his free-agent years. Cain has said the Lincecum negotiations would have an impact on his decision to commit long-term, citing the importance of pitching in a deep and talented rotation.The fans participating in the chat with Baer via Twitter weren't always civil and many used blue language to express their frustration that a deal with Cain hadn't been reached already. Fears might be spiking after the Los Angeles Dodgers were sold Tuesday for a record 2.15 billion, and new owner Magic Johnson pledged to be aggressive in courting top free-agent talent.Baer said he didn't expect the Dodgers sale would have a major impact on the free-agent market next winter. But taking Cain off that market certainly remains a top priority. He said the Giants are more interested in retaining their top players like Cain rather than going shopping for other big-name free agents such as Albert Pujols."Fans would like certain free agents like Albert Pujols ... but the first priority is homegrown playersthat we still think have a lot of productivity left," Baer said. "(But) we cant control the overall economics of player and agent. Its got to be something that allows us to field a team that will win.Industry sources believe Cain would fetch at least a six-year contract on the open-market, with an average annual value exceeding 20 million. The Giants are seeking a below-market contract, given the additional risk they would assume if Cain does not remain healthy this season.That hasn't been a problem throughout Cain's career. In each of the past four seasons, the rock-steady All-Star has ranked among the top seven NL pitchers in innings. Despite a minor scare last spring that turned up loose bodies in his elbow, Cain went on to pitch 221.2 innings and rank eighth in the NL with a 2.88 ERA.
SAN FRANCISCO — The Mets spent the first half of this week in Los Angeles, where they got swept by the Dodgers and outscored 36-11. Their beat writers publicly wrote an end to any thoughts of the postseason. The fan base renewed the calls for manager Terry Collins to be fired.
That’s where they were. And then they flew to San Francisco.
AT&T Park continues to be a place where others get healthy, and this weekend it was the Mets. The Giants lost 8-2 on Sunday, getting swept by a similarly disappointing team. They have lost 12 of their last 13 games.
There’s not much more to be said about it, but I did anyway. Here are five things to know from the day a relief pitcher got an at-bat but it would have been far too cruel to text your friends …
—- Matt Moore’s line: 4 1/3 innings, seven hits, five earned runs, three walks, five strikeouts. Through 16 starts, he has a 6.04 ERA and 1.61 WHIP. He ranks last among qualified NL starters in ERA. Only Matt Cain (1.73) has a worse WHIP. Good times.
—- Mets righty Rafael Montero entered with an 0-4 record and 6.49 ERA. He gave up one run in 5 2/3 innings. Good times.
—- With runners on the corners and two outs in the third inning, Brandon Belt strolled to the plate. He leads the team in homers. Hunter Pence tried to steal second for some reason and he was caught, ending the inning and keeping Belt from batting in a two-run game. Good times.
—- With two on and no outs in the sixth, the Giants sent the runners to make sure Buster Posey didn’t hit into a double play. Posey popped up softly to first and Joe Panik was doubled off of second. Good times.
—- One last bit of bad news: Austin Slater was removed from the game with a tight right hip flexor.
Barry Bonds stepped into Giants' broadcast booth with Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow during the top of the third inning Sunday and Kuiper immediately brought up the shape Bonds is in at 52 years old.
"Still think you can play, probably?" Kuiper asked Bonds.
After giving Kuiper the look, Bonds replied, "About an inning or two."
Moments later, the cameras moved to McCovey Cove past the right field wall at AT&T Park where Bonds famously hit home runs deep into the water. Of the 73 Splash Hits off Giants bats into the cove, Bonds is responsible for 35 of them.
Now an avid cyclist who still picks up a bat from time to time, Bonds is fully confident that number would rise if he stepped into the batter's box again.
"I promise you I will," Bonds replied when Krukow asked if he could still hit home runs into the water. "Without a doubt."
Krukow predicted Bonds would need 10 swings to get it done. Bonds says he might need just a few more.
"Well it would take me eight swings to get warmed up, three pop ups and then I'd get it," he said with a laugh.
During spring training this year, Bonds joined the Giants as a special instructor. And he proved his claim of more Splash Hits could certainly be true as he showed off his legendary swing and cracked balls over the wall in Scottsdale.
Bonds hit his final home run of his career, No. 762, on Sept. 5, 2007 on the road against the Rockies in a 5-3 Giants win. The Giants are adding Bonds to their Wall of Fame on July 8.