The hot stove sure heated up fast in Milwaukee.
Not two hours after the Brewers announced a blockbuster trade that sent four highly touted prospects to the Marlins for in-demand outfielder Christian Yelich, they acquired another prized outfielder. Milwaukee on Thursday signed Lorenzo Cain to a five-year, $80 million contract, the biggest free-agent deal in Major League Baseball this offseason.
"Lorenzo is a multifaceted player and proven winner who we are pleased to welcome back to Milwaukee," general manager David Stearns said in a statement. "His combination of speed, fielding prowess and ability to hit for average will be a valuable addition to our lineup."
A 2015 All-Star and World Series champion with the Kansas City Royals, Cain was a big name in free agency – and a familiar name to Brewers fans. The 31-year-old was a 17th-round draft pick by Milwaukee in 2004 who was included in the trade that also sent Alcides Escobar, Jake Odorizzi and Jeremy Jeffress to Kansas City in exchange for pitcher Zack Greinke.
Lorenzo Cain has agreed on a 5-year, $80M deal with the #Brewers, source says. It’s the biggest free agent contract of the offseason. The deal includes no-trade protection and significant award bonuses. Milwaukee building a super outfield with addition of Yelich and Cain. — Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) January 26, 2018
Cain is a career .290 hitter who’s considered an excellent defensive player. Last year, he had a .300/.363/.440 slash line with 15 home runs, 49 RBI and 26 stolen bases in 155 games, and was an AL Gold Glove award finalist. A versatile, athletic, jack-of-all-trades outfielder, Cain has hit .300 or better with at least 26 steals in three of the last four years, the anomalous season coming in an injury-plagued 2016.
Cain reportedly passed his physical and could be introduced at the annual Brewers On Deck fan event. Assuming the terms are accurate, Cain’s contract with Milwaukee would be for the most years and money of any free-agent deal signed so far. According to ESPN, the agreement includes a no-trade clause and incentives of $300,000 for each All-Star team Cain makes, plus $500,000 if he wins an MVP Award.
One of the best all-around talents on the market, Cain joins the just-acquired Yelich and veteran Ryan Braun in a suddenly talent-loaded Brewers outfield. Milwaukee also still has Domingo Santana, who hit .278 with 30 homers and 85 RBI last year, though the club may decide to trade the slugging right fielder, following its recent moves.
Ryan Braun, Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich is fabulous outfield...if they can get one more starter.... — Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) January 26, 2018
Watch OnMilwaukee for more Brewers updates, and watch out NL Central.
Born in Milwaukee but a product of Shorewood High School (go ‘Hounds!) and Northwestern University (go ‘Cats!), Jimmy never knew the schoolboy bliss of cheering for a winning football, basketball or baseball team. So he ditched being a fan in order to cover sports professionally - occasionally objectively, always passionately. He's lived in Chicago, New York and Dallas, but now resides again in his beloved Brew City and is an ardent attacker of the notorious Milwaukee Inferiority Complex.
After interning at print publications like Birds and Blooms (official motto: "America's #1 backyard birding and gardening magazine!"), Sports Illustrated (unofficial motto: "Subscribe and save up to 90% off the cover price!") and The Dallas Morning News (a newspaper!), Jimmy worked for web outlets like CBSSports.com, where he was a Packers beat reporter, and FOX Sports Wisconsin, where he managed digital content. He's a proponent and frequent user of em dashes, parenthetical asides, descriptive appositives and, really, anything that makes his sentences longer and more needlessly complex.
Jimmy appreciates references to late '90s Brewers and Bucks players and is the curator of the unofficial John Jaha Hall of Fame. He also enjoys running, biking and soccer, but isn't too annoying about them. He writes about sports - both mainstream and unconventional - and non-sports, including history, music, food, art and even golf (just kidding!), and welcomes reader suggestions for off-the-beaten-path story ideas.