Giants

The horse rides off: Matt Cain to retire at end of 2017 season

The horse rides off: Matt Cain to retire at end of 2017 season

Programming note: Watch the encore presentation of Matt Cain's perfect game from 2012 -- This Saturday, Sept. 30 immediately following Warriors basketball  at 8 p.m. and Sunday morning Oct. 1, at 8 a.m. on NBC Sports Bay Area. 

PHOENIX -- The Giants have spent weeks working on a plan to have Matt Cain make one final start for them this weekend. Cain announced Wednesday that Saturday's appearance will actually be the last one of his big league career. 

Before the final road game of his 13th big league season, Cain held a closed-doors meeting to tell his teammates that he will retire. He announced his intentions to the media a few minutes later.

"This weekend will definitely be my last time putting on a Giants uniform, and I can't see myself going anywhere else to play with another team," Cain said. "This organization has meant so much to me and so much to my family. It's something that's dear to my heart. I'm just grateful that it's been a part of my life. I've enjoyed it. I've enjoyed it so much."

Cain, who turns 33 on Sunday, will be the fourth player in franchise history to play their entire career with the Giants and play at least 10 seasons. He joins Jim Davenport, Scott Garrelts and Robby Thompson. Cain said playing only for the Giants was a big factor in his decision. 

"I feel like that's what makes this a little easier," he said. "I started in 2002 getting picked up by the Giants and I know that's the way I'm going to go out. I can't picture myself putting a different uniform on."

Cain was the first round pick for the Giants in 2002 and made his MLB debut in 2005. The longest-tenured Giant has 104 career wins and a 3.69 ERA. He will finish with 331 regular season starts with the Giants, second in their San Francisco history. Juan Marichal started 446 games for the San Francisco Giants. 

Cain threw the only perfect game in franchise history in June of 2012 and saved his best for the biggest moments. In eight postseason starts, Cain had a 2.10 ERA. He pitched the clinching game in all three series during the 2012 title run. 

Cain made three All-Star teams and finished in the top 10 of the Cy Young Award voting twice before arm injuries slowed his career. He has dealt with several ailments since winning the second of three titles, but throughout, Cain has been one of the most respected players in the clubhouse and a sounding board for waves of young pitchers. 

Cain said he made the decision over the past week and told Bobby Evans, Bochy, Dave Righetti and some longtime teammates on Tuesday. When he announced on Tuesday that Cain would make one more start, Bochy said it would be a special day for the entire organization. 

"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."

The moment will mark the end of an era in franchise history. Cain saw it all, and he said that's what he'll remember most about his time in orange and black. Asked for his greatest moment, he pointed to the growth of the organization. 

"Hey, you know what, we had some amazing seasons and won it all," he said. "Not many people get to see the bottom of the barrel and the top of the barrel. That's really special to me."

Pirates front office raves about McCutchen after trading him to Giants

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USATSI

Pirates front office raves about McCutchen after trading him to Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — There was a sense of celebration within the Giants organization on Monday after the addition of Andrew McCutchen. He is easily their best outfielder, a potential solution atop the order, and a player who is known for being a tremendous presence in the clubhouse. 

If the Giants had any doubts, though, they surely felt better after seeing the quotes that came out of Pittsburgh. In a series of statements, Pirates officials made it clear this was a difficult trade to make, with chairman Bob Nutting calling it “one of the most emotionally agonizing decisions that we have had to make in my tenure.”

Nutting, in a statement, said that McCutchen’s smile and energy were infectious even as a teenager. Later, McCutchen got the Pirates to three straight postseason appearances. 

“He did so while always carrying himself with humility, dignity and grace,” Nutting said. 

Team president Frank Coonelly described the trade as painful. 

“(No) individual was more responsible for the success that we had from 2013 to 2015 than Cutch,” Coonelly said in a statement,” And no player was more disappointed than Andrew that we did not break through and win a World Series Championship for the City of Pittsburgh.”

McCutchen was Pittsburgh’s first-round selection in the 2005 draft and made his debut in 2009. In nine seasons with the Pirates, he was a five-time All-Star and a perennial MVP candidate. He won the award in 2013 and finished in the top five of voting for four consecutive seasons. 

General manager Neal Huntington said the decision to actually part with the franchise player was “incredibly difficult.”

“Watching Andrew patrol center field with grace, fly around the bases, drive the ball all around the ballpark, celebrate with his teammates or interact with his family, friends or fans has created lifelong memories for me and many, many others around the game of baseball,” he said. 

What the Giants’ farm system lost in trade for Andrew McCutchen

What the Giants’ farm system lost in trade for Andrew McCutchen

San Francisco’s second splash of its offseason reloading plan came to life Monday with the acquisition of outfielder Andrew McCutchen in a trade with the Pirates.

In trading for the five-time All-Star, the Giants held on to top prospects Heliot Ramos, Chris Shaw and Tyler Beede. The win-now move bolstered the Giants’ outfield — one that needed the most help in all of baseball — while the Pirates again have a potential big piece in their outfield with Bryan Reynolds headed to Pittsburgh. 

While the farm system took a win in keeping its biggest names, let’s look at what the Giants’ future lost with the addition of McCutchen. 

Bryan Reynolds, 22, OF
The Giants clearly have their own prospect rankings. Baseball America (5) and MLB Pipeline (4) ranked Reynolds ahead of Steven Duggar, who is the Giants’ No. 8 prospect by Baseball America and No. 6 by MLB Pipeline, after the 2017 season. Duggar is expected to compete for the Giants’ starting job in center field unless they make another big move like signing Lorenzo Cain. 

There’s a reason Reynolds is ranked so high though. The Giants’ top pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, is a switch-hitter who is primarily a center fielder, but like Duggar, he played all three outfield positions in 2017. 

"I think it's too early to dictate if he'll be in a corner or center," Nestor Rojas, Reynolds’ manager for the San Jose Giants, said to me in July. "He's really good and he has the tools to play center field. He's got speed and he's got range. He can do really well in all three." 

Reynolds slashed .312/.364/.462 with 10 home runs at Advanced Single-A this past season. He was the Giants' lone representative at the Futures Game and named San Jose Giants MVP. Even if he never unlocks his power, Reynolds is expected to be a solid big leaguer one day with well-rounded overall tools. 

[READ: How Reynolds went from undrafted to Giants' top 2016 pick]

Kyle Crick, 25, RHP
Crick was expected to be a future ace when the Giants took him No. 49 overall as a high school pitcher back in 2011. Control issues hampered him mightily. 

Down in the minors, Crick flashed dominance on the hill at times with a fastball that reaches the upper 90s. Still, command won the battle and the Giants turned Crick into a reliever. The move may have saved his career. 

As the Sacramento River Cats’ closer in Triple-A last season, Crick recorded six saves with a 2.76 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 29.1 innings pitched. Crick earned his call-up to San Francisco and was solid for the Giants. He put together a 3.06 ERA in 30 games out of the bullpen, giving a glimpse of what he can be in the future. 

Crick has always been full of potential. Now as a reliever, he’s starting to turn it into results at the highest level. The Pirates may have a future shut-down arm in the ‘pen, but in the Giants’ reload, there are plenty of in-house options that can do the job he was expected to do in 2018.