Matt Cain of the San Francisco Giants and Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds each signed multi-year contract extensions Monday, making the National League All-Stars two of the top 10 highest paid players in baseball.
Cain’s contract will net him $127.5 million over six years with a player option for a seventh year, bringing his total earnings to approximately $141 million, according to ESPN.
The deal makes Cain the highest paid right-handed pitcher in baseball history. Only lefthanders CC Sabathia of the Yankees and Johan Santana of the Mets are paid more per year. Sabathia will pull down $23 million while Santana will earn $24 million this year.
To put Cain’s deal in perspective, Andrew Brandt, NFL business analyst for ESPN, tweeted that the contract’s guaranteed minimum payment of $108 million is greater than the amount guaranteed to Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers in their contracts.
On the field Cain, 27, trails only the Phillies’ Roy Oswalt as the NL pitcher with the highest WAR, or wins above replacement, which measures the number of wins a player adds per year, since his first full season in 2006.
His 67 wins in that same period is less impressive, but when you factor in the Giants lackluster offense for much of Cain’s career and his career 3.35 ERA with at least 190 innings pitched every year, his value rises even with a losing record.
“If they didn’t pay him, somebody else would,” said senior baseball writer for ESPN Buster Onley on the network’s “Mike and Mike in the Morning” show Tuesday.
Last year Cain finished eighth in NL Cy Young voting while going 12-11 with a 2.88 ERA.
The Reds agreed to terms with 2010 NL MVP Votto, even with two years left on his remaining contract.
Votto, 28, signed a 10-year $225 million contract extension. Including Votto’s remaining two years on his current contract, future contractual payments total $251 million — the second largest package for a player behind the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez.
Votto’s deal almost assures that he will retire as a Cincinnati Red, unless he is traded to another team at some point, an unlikely possibility given that he will be earning $20 million or more as he approaches 40.
The Reds made it a priority to lock-up their MVP, and most consistent bat for a team that won the NL Central in 2010.
Votto’s deal was undoubtedly influenced by mega deals awarded to two former NL Central first basemen in the offseason.
The Los Angles Angels of Anaheim signed former St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols to a 10-year $246 million deal. Former Milwaukee Brewer Prince Fielder signed with the Detroit Tigers for $214 over nine years.
Votto made his second consecutive All-Star team and finished sixth in the NL MVP voting last year when he hit 28 homeruns with 103 RBIs while hitting .309.
The Giants begin their season Friday against the Arizona Diamondbacks, while the Reds begin playing Thursday at home against the Miami Marlins.