In 2018, the Brewers signed Lorenzo Cain to a 5 year, $80MM contract. 2022 is the final year of that deal in which the final $18MM is all guaranteed. Another important piece of information is that Cain will reach 10 years of MLB service time this Saturday in Cincinnati.
A recent article from Andy McCullough, a senior writer at the Athletic, confirmed that June 18 will be when Cain officially reaches the 10 years of service time milestone. This is important for players because they are then guaranteed a maximum level pension plan after retirement. It also is quite the accomplishment for any professional baseball player.
Prior to the regular season starting, Cain hinted that 2022 might be his final year playing. As the season has progressed, he has struggled mightly at the plate and admitted to his swing being all over the place. Cain is known for his big smile and is a fan favorite in Milwaukee, so his struggles have been tough to watch.
What are the options going forward with Lorenzo Cain?
Despite the offensive struggles, Cain does still provide value as a defender in center field. The Brewers could opt to keep him and primarily use him in this role. This would mean more playing time for Tyrone Taylor, who during stretches of this season has been a big offensive contributor.
Another avenue is that the Brewers could designate Cain for assignment and release him. If they do this, they would still be responsible for his entire salary. With no financial relief incentive this option is not as enticing, but it may be the best thing for the team going forward.
Lastly, the Brewers could look to trade Cain. Given his $18MM salary this option seems the least likely. Additionally, finding the right trade partner for a 36 year old outfielder on the brink of retirement is no easy task.
Cain’s struggles this season have put the Brewers in a tough position. With trade rumors starting to pick up across the league, it is possible that the Brewers look to upgrade in the outfield prior to the Aug 2 deadline. If this happens, then holding onto Cain for the remainder of the season would make little sense.
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