This ESPN description of Matt Cain’s $112.5 million contract leaves out one detail: his career record.

To save you the time of looking it up, his mark is 69-73.

Yes, a losing record.

And the Giants just made Cain the “highest-paid right-handed pitcher in baseball history”.

Whether this signing works out or not is inconsequential, in some ways.

The SABR/analytics crowd has won.  Instead of wins and losses, the ESPN report included this chart:

Most Wins Above Replacement

Since his first full season in the majors in 2006, Giants starter Matt Cain trails only Roy Oswalt among NL pitchers for most wins above replacement (NL pitchers, since 2006):

Pitcher WAR
Roy Oswalt 23.9
Matt Cain 23.4
Tim Lincecum 23.2
Cole Hamels 22.5

Bill James, SABR, Baseball Prospectus, The Sloan Sports Conference crowd and others have totally reshaped the narrative on baseball performance.

Today ranks second only to Felix Hernandez and his 13-12 Cy Young season in 2010 as landmarks in recognizing this monumental shift.

 

 

 

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