This morning, Lorenzo Cain reportedly had multiple four-year offers on the table. Now, he’s reportedly getting a five-year, $80 million deal from the Milwaukee Brewers, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. It’s the biggest free agent deal of this (admittedly slow as heck) offseason, so his team’s negotiating skills seem to have worked out for him.
The deal comes on the heels of the Brewers trading four players to acquire Christian Yelich from the Marlins. They’ve been looking to bolster their outfield this offseason and between these two deals, they’ve certainly accomplished that.
Most Cain rumors this offseason have centered around him finding a six- or seven-year deal, worth up to $100 million. However, some teams were throwing out three- or four-year deals to make something work with Cain’s camp, worth $13 million to $15 million a year at best. So a five-year, $80 million situation sure seems like the market depressed his value enough that a team didn’t end up overpaying for his services (he is about to turn 32, after all) while he still gets paid a fair amount. Hey, the market averaged out okay in this case!
According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, the deal also includes some no-trade protection for Cain and “significant” award bonuses, the latter of which probably helped soften the blow of Cain getting a bit less than he’d hoped for as far as the total contract value.
During his last five seasons with the Royals, Cain hit .291/.345/.423 with a 107 OPS+ and 49 home runs. He suffered through some minor injuries to his knee and hamstring, but hasn’t played fewer than 100 games since 2012. He’s dropped off in some categories as he gets older, which can be expected.
He grounded into more double plays in 2017 than he ever had before, and he drove in only 49 RBI — his lowest mark since 2013. However, his 2017 batting line was actually higher than 2016 in 52 more games. So it’s not like Old Man Cain won’t contribute in Milwaukee. It’s just a matter of how many more years he’ll be pitching in in any meaningful way.
With two major deals in one day, the Brewers now have one of the best outfields in the league. With Cain and Yelich added to a group that also includes Ryan Braun and Domingo Santana, that isn’t too shabby. It’s certainly the outfield of a contender if everything else comes together for them, especially since they now have a few superfluous outfield assets they can flip to help them in other areas.
At the very least they’re adding some excitement to what has been a drastically underperforming offseason so far.