Matt Cain's Giants career comes to an emotional, but fitting end

Matt Cain's Giants career comes to an emotional, but fitting end


SAN FRANCISCO — Matt Cain made his way through a crowded dugout, offering hugs to coaches who have watched him grow and players who have followed his lead. When he reached the end of the line, he found Madison Bumgarner, who will soon be the longest-tenured Giants pitcher at the age of 28.

Bumgarner wrapped Cain in a massive bear hug and lifted him off the ground as Cain ducked his head. It was the passing of a torch. It was also the end of an era. 

Cain made the 331st and final start of a 13-year career, and he went out the way he wanted. He threw five shutout innings against the Padres, striking out four and allowing just two hits in a game the Giants would blow twice and lose 3-2. 

The bullpen warmed up several times on a day when Cain’s pitch count was limited, but as he has done so many times, he dug deep and kept on going. When the final start was done, he received one last lengthy ovation from a crowd that watched him help build a dynasty. 

Cain has spent a career being stoic, and he held it together early on an emotional day. He received one pre-game standing ovation when he took the field at 12:40 p.m. to warm up, another when he returned to the dugout, and a third when he led the Giants onto the field. When Cain blew 89 mph past Wil Myers to end a perfect first inning, the crowd roared again. 

Cain struck out another in a clean second, but Hunter Renfroe led off the third with a single to center. As Derek Law started to warm up in the bullpen, Cain got out of the inning. Law and Ty Blach warmed up from the start of the fourth, but Cain didn’t need any help. He worked around an infield single, freezing Christian Villanueva with a 90 mph fastball at the knees to get the third out. 

Law again started the fourth on the bullpen mound, and when Cain walked leadoff hitter Cory Spangenberg, manager Bruce Bochy emerged from the dugout. Bochy immediately heard a chorus of boos, but after a quick talk with Cain, he left him in. Cain struck out Austin Hedges, giving him 1,694, the third-most in San Francisco Giants history. When Jhoulys Chacin grounded out on Cain’s 73rd pitch, a legendary career was over. 

Bochy was waiting for Cain when he returned to the dugout and he gave him a big hug. Cain hugged Buster Posey, waved both hands to the crowd, and then tapped his heart. As he descended the dugout steps for the final time, he flipped his cap into the crowd. 

A few minutes later, Cain’s final start officially became a Matt Cain start. Myers took Reyes Moronta deep to left, meaning Cain got Cained one last time. He took a no-decision after getting one run of support. This was the 109th no-decision of Cain’s career. 

The Giants got the go-ahead run in the seventh. Ryder Jones drew a walk and went to second on a sacrifice bunt. He raced home on Hunter Pence’s single, but the lead would disappear in the top of the ninth. Austin Hedges hit a two-run double off Sam Dyson with two outs and two strikes. 

Dodgers acquire Kemp in five-player trade, including former Giants infielder


Dodgers acquire Kemp in five-player trade, including former Giants infielder

The Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers completed a five-player trade today in which the Braves have acquired pitchers Brandon McCarthy and Scott Kazmir, infielder Charlie Culberson, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and cash considerations in exchange for outfielder Matt Kemp. The Braves have designated Gonzalez for assignment, putting their roster at 40 players.

A 34-year-old right-hander, McCarthy went 6-4 with a 3.98 ERA (41 ER/92.2 IP) in 19 games (16 starts) for the Dodgers last season, while missing time during three separate disabled list stints. He made one postseason appearance for the National League champion Dodgers, allowing two runs over 1.0 inning to take the loss during Game 2 of the World Series vs. Houston. The 6-foot-7, 226-pounder began the season in the Dodgers rotation before going to the disabled list on May 5 with a dislocated left shoulder. McCarthy also missed 11 games from June 26-July 8 with right knee tendonitis and then 53 games from July 24-September 22 with a blister on his right third finger.

Originally selected in the 17th round of the 2002 First-Year Player draft by Chicago (AL), McCarthy made his major league debut in 2005 with the White Sox. Texas acquired him the next year before he joined Oakland as a free agent in 2010. He also pitched for Arizona and New York (AL) before signing a four-year deal with Los Angeles prior to the 2015 season. The native of Glendale, Calif., owns a 63-72 career record and a 4.15 ERA (528 ERA/1,145.0 IP) in 240 games, 182 starts.  

Culberson, 28, split last season between the Dodgers and their Triple-A team at Oklahoma City, before making the club's league championship and World Series roster. The 6-foot-0, 200-pound native of Rome, Ga., appeared in 10 games during the Dodgers' run through the postseason, hitting .500 (8-for-16) with three extra-base hits. Culberson, who bats and throws right-handed, first joined the Dodgers in September, and had two hits in 13 at-bats (.154) over 15 games.

San Francisco selected Culberson in the first round (51st overall) of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, and he made his major league debut in 2012 with the Giants. Colorado traded for him in 2012 before he signed a minor-league deal with Los Angeles in 2015. Over 197 major league games, Culberson owns a .231 average (95-for-411), while making appearances at first base (four games, three starts), second base (42 games, 30 starts), third base (37 games, 20 starts), shortstop (45 games, 22 starts) and left field (29 games, 20 starts).

Kazmir, 33, did not pitch in the majors last season due to a left hip injury. He made three rehabilitation three starts with Single-A Rancho Cucamonga in June and July, but the Dodgers never activated him from the disabled list. The left-hander then made one more relief appearance during a rehabilitation assignment with the Quakes in September, but finished the season on the 60-day disabled list. 

A three-time All-Star and former first-round pick of New York (NL) in 2002, Kazmir joined the Dodgers prior to the 2016 season on a three-year deal. He made 26 starts and won 10 games for the club in the first year of his contract and over his 12 major league seasons, the 6-foot-0, 195-pound native of Houston, Texas, owns a 108-96 career record and a 4.01 ERA (752 ER/1689.2 IP) in 298 games, 297 starts. His 108 wins are the seventh most among active left-handed pitchers.            

Kemp, 33, was acquired by the Braves from the San Diego Padres in July 2016. He hit .278 with 31 homers and 103 RBI in 171 games for Atlanta.

MLB media services

Giants gain payroll flexibility, trade Matt Moore to Texas


Giants gain payroll flexibility, trade Matt Moore to Texas

On the first night of the Winter Meetings, Giants officials indicated they planned to stay under the $197 million luxury tax line. On the last night of the Winter Meetings, general manager Bobby Evans said he had offers in hand that would allow the club to shed payroll. Friday, it all came together. 

The Giants traded Matt Moore and international bonus pool money to the Texas Rangers in exchange for minor league right-handers Sam Wolff and Israel Cruz. The deal costs them their No. 4 starter, but also gives the Giants an extra $9 million to play with as they look to fill multiple holes. The Giants previously had only about $10 million to spend before reaching the tax line for a fourth straight year, but they now have nearly $20 million as they look for upgrades in center field, right field and third base. 

“This move allows us to reallocate our resources to address our position player needs,” Evans said. “In addition, we are pleased to add two power arms to our system. Our focus remains to strengthen our outfield defense and our everyday lineup.”

Moore, 28, was acquired at the deadline in 2016 in exchange for Matt Duffy, Lucius Fox and Michael Santos. The results were mixed. Moore was a boost to the rotation down the stretch that year and would have gone down as a postseason hero for the Giants had the bullpen not blown Game 4 of the NLDS. He had a 5.52 ERA in 2017, but at the same time, the Giants always felt the trade was worth it. Duffy missed the entire season with an Achilles issue and Fox, while an intriguing prospect, remains far from the big leagues. 

The Giants believed Moore could bounce back next year, and they never waffled with his 2018 option, even though at times it seemed they shouldn't pick it up. Team officials said this week that Moore was already in the Phoenix area working with new pitching coach Curt Young, and they expected big things. 

Instead, Moore is headed to the Rangers and the Giants will dive back into the free agent market. They can fill their starting hole internally, with Ty Blach and Chris Stratton as holdovers and top pitching prospect Tyler Beede viewed as being big league ready. Left-hander Andrew Suarez also is close to being ready for a big league shot. 

Wolff, 26, had a 2.98 ERA as a reliever in Double-A and Triple-A last season. Cruz is just 20 years old and spent last season in rookie ball. He is years away, but this was a deal made with 2018 in mind. 

The Giants dealt from a rare area of strength, and now they'll have a chance to try to bolster a lineup that failed their starters, including Moore.