SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Giants president and chief operating officer Larry Baer indicated Saturday that the Giants aren't close to agreeing on a contract extension for right-hander Matt Cain, who minutes earlier said for the first time that he's seeking a deal of "fair value." Asked if any common ground exists between Cain and the Giants, Baer, who visited Scottsdale Stadium on Saturday, said, "To be determined. To be determined." Baer declined to comment on the status of talks with Cain's agents, but added, "Any time you're talking, it's a good thing, and we'll talk. ... It's been a lot of back-and-forth conversations."
Baer affirmed that signing Cain, a two-time All-Star who can be a free agent after the upcoming season, is a leading priority. Cain, 27, ascended through the Giants' Minor League system to reach the Majors late in the 2005 season and is their longest-tenured player. He has reached or exceeded the 200-inning level five years in a row and pitched 21 1/3 innings spanning three starts in the 2010 postseason without yielding an earned run.
"There are guys now and going forward that we're going to be putting a lot of energy into, and he's one of them," Baer said. But Cain indirectly informed the Giants that he's looking for something he and his agent deem to be "fair." "We're listening to anything that's of fair value. That's the way we're taking it," Cain said. Though "fair value" is subject to interpretation, Cain probably is seeking an agreement that falls in a range between the five-year, $85 million deal that the Los Angeles Angels gave Jered Weaver -- a package widely considered to be a "hometown discount" -- and the five-year, $120 million contract Cliff Lee received from Philadelphia. Cain's representation changed slightly during the offseason, when his agents, Landon Williams, Rick Landrum and Jimmy Sexton, joined CAA Sports. Among CAA's top agents is Jeff Berry, who represents Giants catcher Buster Posey. Cain reiterated his hopes of forging an agreement with the Giants before the end of Spring Training -- or, if an accord can't be reached, remaining undisturbed by contract matters to concentrate on the regular season.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.