Trade Match Series-Matt Cain

Matthew Thomas Cain


Whether or not a trade happens between two teams can come down to many nebulous factors, from the relationship between the two GMs, how clubs value players, and the level of motivation a team has to move someone. But one important element that can be looked at objectively is how the teams match up. This is a series where I’m going to look at how the Yankees match up with the other team for their prospective trade targets.


What do the Giants need?

Offense, hitting and sprinkle in some bats. Despite playing in a division that houses the perennially weak San Diego Padres, the San Francisco Giants managed to score the fewest runs in their division. But that’s easy to do when you score the fewest runs in the entire National League, which they did by a margin of 23 Runs.  

What do the Giants have in their farm system?

A few good pitchers in RHRP Heath Hembree and LHSP Eric Surkamp. Gary Brown may be their CF of the future, but he’s a few years away after destroying (.328/.398/.457) High-A San Jose.  Slick fielding (SS) Brandon Crawford got a big league look in emergency duty last year, but questions persist about his bat (.584 OPS last year).

Yankee trade chips that match:

Frankie Cervelli, Austin Romine, Nick Swisher, Eduardo Nunez, David Adams,

The ephemeral:

The Giants need hitters, but where on the diamond is more of a question than most folks realize. The only positions written in stone next year are Melky Cabrera (CF) and Pablo Sandoval (3B). Everywhere else is up in the air on some level. Buster Posey has to show he can come back healthy from his nasty broken ankle, and if he can’t catch everyday you need 1B open for his bat. Rookie stud Brandon Belt could play 1B or LF, and 26 year old Brett Pill is an option there as well. A backup Catcher who won’t kill you with the bat would be a nice insurance policy. The middle infield was a mess in 2011, with the oft-injured Freddy Sanchez (2B) and the old, addled Miguel Tejada (SS) up the middle. They’d love to bring back Carlos Beltran, but given the big arb bump coming to Lincecum and Cain due for a salary raise from 7M to 15M it’s unlikely they have salary space for Beltran. GM Brian Sabean is notorious for preferring veteran retreads over unproven rookies, which is why he brings guys like Huff and Tejada in and trades his best pitching prospect (Zach Wheeler) for 2 months of Carlos Beltran. Given Sabean’s preferences, the uncertainty with Posey and their financial constraints, its difficult to see them making a deal.

0 thoughts on “Trade Match Series-Matt Cain

  1. Cain won’t be going anywhere. They are in a win now mode and if they trade Cain the chances of them getting to the places decreases, even with offensive additions. I also think both Cain and Lincecum will eventually be locked up long term. Besides all that I like Cain but I don’t think he is worth the price it would take to pry him loose if he was available. He’s a solid number 2 in the AL, but everyone thinks he’s an ace and I don’t.

  2. God would Cain look good in the Yankees rotation just behind CC. I’m not sure what it would take to pry him loose from the Giants or even if he could be pried loose. But if I’m Cashman I sure give it a shot. Other then in my opinion holding on to Banuelos and Sanchez most any of the other prospects are on the table.

  3. Largely agree with the 2 comments above. I don’t see the Giants giving him up excpet for a deal that will blow them away. The 2 teams do seem to match up pretty well though. The Giants need hitting and an outfileder (Swisher) and could use a replacement for Cain if they trade him (Nova/Noesi, a high-end prospect such as Banuelos or Betances) and perhaps also include a Cervelli or Romine and perhaps even Nunez. While the cost may be high to the Yankees depending on which options are chosen, it does look like the 2 teams match up pretty well. A move like this would allow the Giants to reduce salary by not having to bring back Beltran while still replacing his offense and by not have to pay Cain’s potential (likely large) salary increase after arb. The question then becomes, how highly do the Yankees value Cain? Is he worth that much to them?

    • Cris, from this fans perspective I think he’s worth it. He would solidify the front (1-2) of the Yankees rotation for the next 4 or 5 years (assuming the Yankees could extend him). Plus he’s everything the Yankees could hope Banuelos or Betances would ever be and then some. As for giving up Swisher the Yankees would probably not renew him after the 2012 season anyway unless he has a bang up 2012 season. And the Yankees could always platoon Jones and someone else in RF for a season or make a trade. Throw in if necessary some combination of Adams/Nunez and Romine along with Swisher and Betances and count me in on that deal.

      Adams is stymied in the Yankees organization at 2nd base by Cano. The chances of both Betances and Banuelos making the starting rotation are very slim and if the Yankees re-up Martin for a couple of years they certainly don’t need Romine/Montero/Cervelli/ and Sanchez who’s a little further down the organization to back him up. I think it’s a win, win, but that’s just my opinion. I’m sure there are Yankees fans that would/will disagree with me.

      • If the Giants were willing to accept some combination of the above players, I think I’d have to go with it as well. I’d hate to give up Banuelos, but this is a situation where I think it’s warranted. You’re looking at a solid #2. Let’s get Cash and the Giants on the phone and have them do this deal! (In actuality, I don’t think the Giants would look to move him at all.)

      • Plus he’s everything the Yankees could hope Banuelos or Betances would ever be and then some.

        Wow, that’s a pretty strong statement. Based on what? With your ability to see the future you should be playing the market and buying Powerball tickets with every dime you’ve got.

        I’d be willing to include Betances in a trade for a guy like Cain because in the admittedly brief appearances I’ve seen him in he seems to have trouble repeating his delivery. Baneulos seems like a surer bet to me and I would be much less willing to include him in a trade even for Cain who is about to get expensive and – since he pitches in a weak-hitting division in a park that favors pitchers – will have an adjustment to make to the AL East with its deeper lineups, the DH and hitters parks like YS, Fenway and Camden Yards.

        • We are all entitled to our opinion. The one thing I can’t understand about various posters comments in general when they make them is their concern about a players potential salary or expense to the Yankees. Especially when it comes to a player of Cain’s ability and track record and age (26). I’m not the type of fan that falls in love with prospects and what they might be, can be or should be 3, 4 or 5 years down the road. If I can get a player that absolutely helps the team and fits a need not only now but for the next several years which Cain would do I jump at the opportunity to trade player(s) that you can only hope can do that in the future. That’s just my opinion, obviously you feel differently.

          As for the fact that Cain pitches in the NL with as you believe weaker line ups, no DH and hitter friendlier parks by that account. If we eliminate all potential trades for pitchers based on some of those criteria the Yankees should eliminate pitchers that pitch in the NL in general and in the AL Central and West Divisions because for the most part they pitch at least half their games against teams with weak line ups with just a very few exceptions. That’s just my opinion.

          Like I said in my earlier post here. I don’t believe Cain will be available but if somehow or way he is. If I’m the Yankees I make every effort to sign him.

        • It’s really not a strong statement at all. While I may not be the biggest Cain fan in the world, he has established himself as one of the best number 2 starters in baseball. I think he is a tad overrated since many consider him an ace, but if either Betances or Banuelos become Cain they will have surpassed most expectations.

          Most scouts and people in the know don’t believe in Betances as a starter. I think he is going to end up in the pen within the next 3 years, and maybe not even as a closer. Banuelos while being a very good pitching prospect has shown enough control issues, and has been hit hard enough to say his upside is much more likely to be as a number 2 and not an ace. Since very few prospects actually reach their upside that means he likely becomes no more than a number 3 starter in his career.

          If after 1317.1 IP in the major leagues either Betances or Banuelos post an ERA/FIP of 3.35/3.69 and a total WAR of 24.2 the Yankees would be ecstatic.

  4. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again….Nunez is Robinson Cano 5 years ago. His bat is going to be lethal. Add to that his speed, and you’ve got one very dangerous S.S., which we’ll need in about 2 years. Cashman would be crazy to trade Nunez at this point, especially with ARod needing time off. Now…if you think that tossing them Cervelli, Romine, Hughes, Adams, and Swisher will get this done, then you also believe that five 2’s equals a 10. Wishful thinking. I think Cashman does nothing big pitching wise before the season starts, waits until about the All-Star break to assess where the team is, and then pulls the trigger on someone who’s about to be a free agent. It costs much less this way. Also…why pay big now for someone who will only cost $$$ at this time next year. But hey…what do I know?

    • As I said before, I don’t think the Giants have an interest in moving Cain. However, it’s a GM’s job to explore all possibilities. If I were Cashman, I’d guage the Giants interest with an inital offer of Swisher, Noesi, Betances (possibly), Adams & Cervelli. If that got talks started, I’d see where they go. It meets their needs for a bat, backup catcher, 2nd baseman, provides a serviceable starting pitcher to replace Cain and if Betances is included, a potential future pitcher as well. It is an offer that shows the Yankees understand Cain’s value and are serious. If it led to further discussions, they have interest. If not, they have no interest in moving Cain under any circumstances.

      While I like Nunez, I don’t ever seeing him becoming Robinson Cano. A serviceable ML middle infielder, yes. A MVP candidate, no.

      And there is no guarantee that Cain won’t re-sign with the Giants before becoming a FA or if he would even consider coming to NY (which goes to your point of one year of control).

      • If I were Cashman, I’d guage the Giants interest with an inital offer of Swisher …

        OK, then who plays RF next year and replaces Swisher’s production in the lineup?

        • Start looking at an Andruw Jones/someone else of his caliber platoon. Look to see who’s available. If I were Cashman, I wouldn’t let that stop me. They’re apparently looking at 2 international FA’s from Cuba and will possibly let Swisher go after the ’12 season anyway. RF will need to be addressed.

        • roadrider – this isn’t meant to be sarcastic even though I’m sure that’s the way it will sound. But if I can be allowed to answer your question with another question.

          Who will replace Swisher’s production in the post season? Answer: Anyone.
          Don’t get me wrong Swisher puts up nice numbers but he’s not irreplaceable. And like Cris said the Yankees are probably unlikely to resign him at the end of the 2012 season anyway.

        • Oh, and production in the lineup? Start by remving last year’s DH and adding in Montero. That alone will make up for a large portion of what you lose by removing Swisher. A potential bounce back year from A-Rod and Teix, even with less than out-of-this-world numbers from Granderson will add to the offense. I’m not worried about that, especially considering the need for pitching.

    • I don’t understand how anyone could qualify Nunez’s bat as “lethal”… Nothing he has done to this point even comes close to qualifying that statement. Comparing his numbers to Cano in the minor leagues also doesn’t even come close.

      Nunez career minor league OPS of .686, 0 double digit HR seasons in the minors, 4 HRs in 118 AAA games, .721 career OPS in AAA.

      Cano career minor league OPS of .756, 2 double digit HR seasons in the minors, 10 HRs in 85 AAA games, .793 career OPS in AAA.

      Cano didn’t show he would be the caliber of player he is right now in the minor leagues, but he showed himself to be far above the caliber Eduardo Nunez is. Nunez might work himself into be a decent starting short stop in this league one day, but classifying him as “lethal” is laughable at this point.