Giants

Emotional moment: Matt Cain set to make final Giants start on Saturday

Emotional moment: Matt Cain set to make final Giants start on Saturday

PHOENIX -- As he sat at his locker Tuesday afternoon, Matt Cain laughed as he remembered his first September in the big leagues. It was 2005, and Felipe Alou originally told the 20-year-old to relax and have fun. A couple of weeks later, the Giants found themselves three games out of first. Alou approached Cain again.

"He goes, 'Hey, now we might be playing for something, kid,'" Cain remembered. 

The Giants didn't make the postseason that year, but Cain ended up being a key piece in the building of a dynasty. He won three rings, posted a 2.10 ERA in eight postseason starts, and made three All-Star teams. For those reasons and many more, the Giants will celebrate the 32-year-old this weekend.

Cain will start Saturday's game against the San Diego Padres at AT&T Park. He wouldn't say if it will be his last appearance in the big leagues, but all parties know -- even if they won't publicly admit it -- that the right-hander's 331st regular-season start with the Giants will be his last for the organization.

"Its going to be a special moment for me," Cain said. "It's a moment I haven't been a part of. I'm not exactly sure what's to come after the season or next year, but this is a special moment."

Manager Bruce Bochy said it's one he has been looking forward to for a while. He has hinted for weeks that the Giants would do this for Cain.

"With what he's done for the Giants organization, he's been here since day one with me, and I wanted him to make this start at home," Bochy said. "I'm sure it's going to be emotional for him. It's important for us and for Matt to have a start there the last homestand. Matt has been great through all of this and he has provided leadership. This is going to be a special game for him and for us."

Bochy said Chris Stratton will start Friday night, meaning Madison Bumgarner is bumped from the rotation. The decision to end Bumgarner's season was not injury-related, Bochy said; he just wanted the left-hander to end his rough season on a high note. Bumgarner won at Dodger Stadium on Saturday. Johnny Cueto is tentatively scheduled to start Sunday.

Cain hasn't appeared in a game since August 31, but he threw a long bullpen session Monday afternoon. What does he have left in the tank for the final start of his 13th year with the Giants?

"We'll see -- as long as it will go," Cain said. "That's my mindset. That's been my mindset throughout my career. We go out and go as long as we can go."

Cain, Moustakas on Giants' radar? Sabean: 'My vote would be a no'

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USATI

Cain, Moustakas on Giants' radar? Sabean: 'My vote would be a no'

ORLANDO — In a world without qualifying offers, a lot of offseason moves would be easier to swallow. Put Lorenzo Cain in center, giving the Giants an elite defender at a time when outfield defense is their biggest flaw. Put Mike Moustakas at third, adding power to the worst home-run-hitting team in the majors. Many around the game, perhaps not familiar with the Giants' desire to rebuild their minor league system, think both players make sense in orange and black. 

But nine players received — and turned down — qualifying offers, including Cain and Moustakas, the former Royals stars. That’s why you can just about cross them off the winter wish list. The Giants, being over the luxury tax, would forfeit two draft picks and international bonus money if they signed either player. Asked about that possibility on the first day of the winter meetings, vice president of baseball operations Brian Sabean left no doubt about where he stands. 

“If you’re asking me personally, my vote would be a no, being that we wouldn't want to get involved with somebody like that,” Sabean said.

VIDEO: Sabean -- Not a surprise Stanton, Ohtani went elsewhere

Sabean’s vote, of course, carries significant weight, but he’s not alone in his thinking. Sources said others in the front office, including general manager Bobby Evans, are just as protective of the picks that would be surrendered. The Giants would give up the second pick in the second round and the second pick in the fifth round. Because they lost 98 games and will pick second overall in every round, every pick in next June’s draft will mean a bit more. The Giants would also have to give up $1 million in international bonus pool money at a time when they are focused on becoming bigger players in that market. 

“That would be a huge hit in a year (we have) the second pick in every round,” Sabean said. “We really have a chance to make hay in this draft and we expect to do so, so that would be a stretch.”

The other players who rejected qualifying offers last month were Eric Hosmer, Jake Arrieta, Wade Davis, Alex Cobb, Greg Holland, Lance Lynn and Carlos Santana. 

Stanton turn down Giants because of Dodgers? 'If they were in the right...'

Stanton turn down Giants because of Dodgers? 'If they were in the right...'

ORLANDO — The baseball world spent the month of November waiting for Giancarlo Stanton to narrow his list and find a new home. It turns out the finalists were decided on the field in October.

Stanton’s agent, Joel Wolfe, confirmed Monday that the National League MVP preferred to play for the Yankees, Astros, Cubs or Dodgers. On the first day of the annual Winter Meetings, Stanton donned the pinstripes for the first time, and he talked about why he felt New York was the right fit in the end. He also talked about why he bothered meeting with the Giants and Cardinals if they were not on his original wish list. 

“(The Marlins) went to San Francisco and the Cardinals and struck deals with them,” Stanton said during a press conference. “So I was open to listening to them, but those were not my teams. Those are great people. They were great meetings and a great organization and culture there, but that just wasn’t the fit for me.”

The Giants flew their executives down to Los Angeles to meet with Stanton and his representatives and they felt the meeting went well. They had already agreed to terms on a package with the Marlins, with mid-level prospects being sent over in return. They were ready to assume the vast majority of the $295 million left on Stanton’s deal.

But this process was controlled by the player, and Stanton called the Marlins’ bluff. He said repeatedly on Monday that he wants to win and he’s tired of rebuilding, and he forced his way to a team that looks ready to kickstart another lengthy run of October appearances. 

The Giants and Cardinals have been postseason mainstays over the past decade, and surely that intrigued Stanton a bit, even if he had other plans. He said he wanted to learn what both organizations were about and that was part of the meeting process. 

“All I’ve experienced is the Marlins and basically one way of going about things,” he said. “So I wanted to see how other organizations went about their business and how the city and everything would appeal to me if that was a way that I wanted to go.”

During an appearance on MLB Network after his press conference, Stanton said he hopes Giants and Cardinals fans don’t hold the process against him. For the Giants, at the very least, Stanton is not a Dodger, and that played a part in this process, too. Wolfe compared Stanton — a Los Angeles native — to Brandon Crawford (another of his clients) potentially playing for the Dodgers. When he met with a scrum of reporters, Stanton said playing for his childhood team’s rival played a small part in the process. 

“I wouldn’t base a decision off that but also I wouldn’t want to go to the team that (the Dodgers) dislike the most, and I wasn’t sure if (the Giants) were going to beat that team, either,” Stanton said. “But at the same time if they were in the right position that I wanted, I would have done it.”