SAN FRANCISCO — Matt Cain has that hefty new contract he hoped for before opening day.
Cain and the San Francisco Giants agreed Monday to a $127.5 million, six-year contract, the largest deal for a right-handed pitcher in baseball history.
The agreement adds $112.5 million over five years to the $15 million salary for 2012 that was remaining in his previous deal. Cain gets a $5 million signing bonus as part of the new contract and $20 million annually from 2013-17. The deal includes a $21 million option for 2018 with a $7.5 million buyout that, if exercised, would raise the total to $141 million over seven seasons.
Cain's option would become guaranteed if he pitches 200 innings in 2017 or 400 innings combined in 2016-17 and is not on the disabled list at the end of the 2017 season for a right elbow or right shoulder injury. If it does not become guaranteed, it would be a team option.
One of general manager Brian Sabean's top priorities this offseason had been to keep his talented pitching staff intact. Two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum agreed to a $40.5 million, two-year contract in late January.
"Ensuring that Matt remained a Giant beyond this season was a top priority for the organization. Matt is an integral part of the team whose performance on the mound will be one of the keys to our success for years to come," Sabean said.
Among pitchers, only the Yankees' CC Sabathia and the Mets' Johan Santana, both left-handers, agreed to larger contract. Sabathia got a $161 million deal from 2009-2015 that had an additional year and $30 million in guaranteed money added last fall. Santana agreed to a $137.5 million contract from 2008-13.
The previous record contract for a right-handed pitcher was Kevin Brown's $105 million, seven-year deal with the Dodgers after the 1998 season.
The 27-year-old Cain went 12-11 last season with a 2.88 ERA, reaching 200 innings for the fifth straight season. The durable pitcher also didn't allow an earned run during the entire 2010 postseason, when the Giants pulled off an improbable World Series championship.
Cain, represented by CAA Sports, never named his price tag or the number of years he sought, other than to say during spring training he wanted "fair value." Several other top pitchers around the majors have signed similar contracts for five years — Phillies ace Cliff Lee ($120 million), the Angels' C.J. Wilson ($77.5 million) and Jered Weaver of the Angels ($85 million).
The Giants said their talks with Cain's representatives were constant in hopes of coming to an agreement before the Giants open the season Friday at Arizona.
"The success of our franchise depends on developing and retaining homegrown talent like Matt Cain," Giants president Larry Baer said. "I want to commend Brian Sabean, Bobby Evans, Matt and his representatives for their hard work to keep Matt in the orange and black. This is an exciting day for Giants fans everywhere and a fantastic way to kick off the 2012 season."
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