San Francisco Giants pitcher Matt Cain announced today that his is retiring at the end of this season, and his start for the Giants on Saturday will be the final start of his career. Cain is in the final year of an 8 year, $139.75 million contract.
This is surprising — Cain is still relatively young (he turns 33 in four days), and while he has struggled both with injuries and with performance the past several years, you would normally assume that he would look to continue his career after the season, either back with San Francisco on a minor league deal, or with another team. Still, he has apparently decided he’s ready to hang it up.
Cain was an integral part of the Giants’ success for a number of years, getting Cy Young votes each season from 2010-12, and providing the Giants with solid #2 level starter performance from 2007-12. Cain was also an interesting outlier in regards to consistently outperforming his peripherals — from 2009-12, he put up a 2.93 ERA, against a FIP of 3.46.
From 2013 on, however, both his peripherals and his ERA were sub-par, as he put up a 4.86 ERA and a 4.69 FIP in 544 innings over that five year span. One can reasonably wonder whether the heavy workload he had at an early age — he had a 190 IP season at age 21, followed by a 200 IP season at age 22 -- contributed to him falling off after age 27.
Cain will end his career with three World Series rings and a very solid career. Best of luck to him in his post-retirement life.