For months, both Giants general manager Bobby Evans and manager Bruce Bochy have publicly stated their desire for Matt Cain to be the clubs fifth starter heading into the 2017 regular season.
So far, however, Cain has done very little to give anyone confidence that he is ready to fill that role, or taking a step towards getting his career back on track. Through three starts, Cain’s spring ERA is a whopping 9.58 through 10 innings, while his primary competition, young left hander Ty Blach, has fared much better, posting a 2.89 ERA through 9 and 1/3.
Evans joined the Gary and Larry Show on Tuesday morning and said it is still too early to make any sort of proclamations regarding who is the front runner to win the fifth spot. He did, however, mention that if Cain indeed falls short, there is a possibility he is sent to the minor leagues to begin the season, instead of being thrown into an unfamiliar bullpen role.
“Right now we are really looking at him as a starter, and I think to change his mentality – midstream in the spring when the job is still available and it’s still being fought for – would probably be an injustice to him,” Evans said. “He still deserves a chance to show what he can do as a starter, and if he comes to a conclusion that the starter opportunity’s not there, then the discussion of the bullpen can certainly become part of our process with him and his with us.
“I think it will require an adjustment in such a way that it’d be hard to start the season having competed for the starter role and then start the season in the bullpen. I think it could be a challenge. It may require some time in the minor leagues adjusting to that role. But again that’s not really in the discussion right now.”
If Cain continues to struggle, would he consider retirement?
“No I don’t think we’ll ask anything of that nature, he’s got too much fire in him to probably even consider that,” Evans said. “I think that his mindset is to try and come out and compete and try to get a quality season as a starter, and if for some reason we conclude otherwise or he concludes otherwise then everything is up for discussion. I would doubt retirement will ever come up.”
Listen to the full interview below.