Cain and the Giants - win win


Cain and the Giants - win win

Matt Cain signed a new deal worth 112.5 million over five years, which means one thing.That ruins the drama of the rest of the exhibition schedule.Cains new deal will average 22.5M per year, well within the parameters of every logical guess on how this would end. Cain knew his value, the Giants knew his value, the agents and the players union knew his value thus obviating the need for all the panic and freakery going on about the deal.There was no hometown discount, which we knew. There was no gouging, which he could have done by coming in at Cliff Lee money. There was very little posturing, in fact. In all ways, this was a lousy contract negotiation for our purposes. Gentlemen and gentlewomen met, they argued a bit, and then they hit the number that was supposed to be hit, given all the numbers that have been hit around them.Now all he has to do is not lose 15 mph on his fastball, or tinker with his delivery every off-season, or be asked to be (the new hellish buzzphrase) the face of the franchise.All Cain has to do is pitch as he has be in the top 10 in innings pitches, pitches thrown, and all the other metrics that show workload and effectiveness.In other words, all he has to do is be him. Thats not as easy as it seems, to be sure, given the bar he has already set, but because baseball contracts have long been about non-baseball things like projecting the future, preventing competitors for bidding, etc., he got what he deserved considering the conditions that prevail.And the Giants got what they needed as well. Without Cain, their entire roster-building strategy would have been shot. Theyd have been a team built on pitching without enough pitching, and a team trying to fake it with their hitting not even managing that.In other words, theyd be the Pittsburgh Pirates a bad team in a good yard. And there are always great seats available in Pittsburgh.So it goes. Wed all congratulate all involved, but since none of the rest of us are getting a taste, we really dont care all that much. But a brief tip othe top to them for reaching the only logical conclusion where nobody looks greedy or stupid or shortsighted a rarity in this day and age.Now lets get down to the business we all know best, and let me be the first -- to wit:When is Cain going to earn his money and win the Lady Byng Trophy? Why cant he lead the NBA in scoring? And why can he not get over the top at the Country Music Awards? God in heaven, when does his contract expire? Hes killing the franchise!Ray Ratto is a columnist for

Giants hire David Bell to fill key front office role


Giants hire David Bell to fill key front office role

SAN FRANCISCO -- A familiar face is returning to the Giants organization to serve a key front office role.

The Giants announced Friday that David Bell, their former third baseman, has been hired as Vice President of Player Development. General manager Bobby Evans said Bell will oversee all aspects of player development, including hitting, pitching, strength and conditioning and the operations of the minor league affiliates. 

"He was the perfect fit," Evans said. "His experience is so strong and encompasses so many aspects of the game. He’s got a really strong base of experience and background and understanding of the game, and he has a passion for the game and working with young players. He really showed a desire to pursue this opportunity." 

Bell, 45, played 12 major league seasons and spent 2002 with the Giants. He hit 20 homers that year as the starting third baseman and scored the winning run in the final game of the NLCS. Since retiring, Bell has served as a minor league manager for the Reds and a big league coach for the Cubs and Cardinals. He spent last season as the bench coach in St. Louis. 

Shane Turner had previously served as farm director, but at the end of the minor league season he was asked to take a role as a special assistant in baseball operations. While Evans did not announce any other changes Friday, there are expected to be other moves within the organization's depth chart. At least one member of the coaching staff is still in the running for a managerial opening. 

Dusty Baker won't be remembered the way he should be remembered


Dusty Baker won't be remembered the way he should be remembered

Firing a manager is easy, and there are lots of ways to do it.

Dusty Baker, for example. He worked this year on the last year of a contract, which usually means there won’t be another one, and he relied on his players to deliver the goods.

Which, as we remember from our reading, they didn’t do. Again.

But Baker was marked for the chop unless those players did deliver, and when they didn’t, general manager Mike Rizzo did the expedient thing.

He fired one person rather than several. And changed exactly nothing.

Baker’s managerial career is probably over now, as most teams don’t look at 68-year-olds to fix their teams. He will never manage a  World Series champion, something he ached for, and he was always be caricatured in part as the guy who didn’t speak metric, and who believed in players as men whenever in doubt.

And the Nats didn’t betray him, either. They were always not as good in the big moments because someone else was, and they became part of Washington’s new fetish – Why Can’t We Win One? It’s as if having a cringeworthy President isn’t good enough for them.

So the time came, and he will be replaced by someone who will either win and get credit for work that was largely his, or he won’t win and the town can continue to wallow in its tedious We’re-The-New-Cubs pity. It is the circle of life.

At least it is for groups of people. For individuals, the circle of life is actually nothing more than a straight line that ends abruptly. For Dusty Baker, as it did for Tony La Russa in Phoenix two days earlier, that day came today. He deserves to be remembered as a very good manager who won a lot more than he lost, made more friends than enemies, and was honest from Day One until the end.

Which, as we also know, doesn’t matter a whole lot on days like this.