Besides Opening Day, the biggest stories in baseball last week were the monster contracts handed out to Cincinnati's Joey Votto and San Francisco's Matt Cain. Votto got 10 years and $225 million; Cain got 5 years and $112 million. Presumably, these deals lock up the players until the end of their careers (Cain may have some more left in him after 2017, I guess).
There was a lot of talk about Votto going into free agency and finding a big payday with another team (you can name the usual suspects). There wasn't as much talk of that with Cain, but it was a possibility. I'm absolutely stoked that neither guy is moving.
Of course, this is a risk to the teams; Cincinnati is a small market, the Giants have a lot of other major parts to lock up, and anytime you give a player a long term deal, you're probably buying a few shitty years. So I understand if fans have some mixed feelings. But I'm not a fan, so I think this is awesome.
Look, baseball is boring when the Yankees, Red Sox, etc. can just swoop in and buy out every major free agent. Baseball is more boring when fans in San Diego or Cleveland have to look to L.A. and New York for great players. Baseball is boring when those fans have to reconcile themselves to the fact that their best players are only going to be around until a "bigger" team makes them a better offer. Baseball is boring when the same 10 teams can print their playoffs tickets in July every year.
So, I'm pleased that the Reds have locked up their Big Damn Star. He gives the local fans something to root for, and with Votto, you're always just a few pieces away from a serious playoff run. I'm happy that the Giants have held on to part of the talent core that won them a World Series just two years ago. He gives the folks in the bay area something to root for while the A's are looking distinctly mediocre.
But mostly, I'm happy that serious, interesting baseball is going to be played outside of the eastern seaboard and L.A. for another few years.