Lorenzo Cain cancels release waivers

The Brewers announced that outside this afternoon Lorenzo Caino authorized the waivers of the release and achieved free will. This was a simple formality after the team designated him for the post over the weekend.

Cain now has the right to explore other opportunities, but whether he plans to continue his career remains to be seen. Shortly after his DFA, Cain met with reporters and reflected on his career (Twitter link with video from Adam McCalvy of MLB.com). The 36-year-old expressed pride in having recently eclipsed ten years of MLB service and noted that he is “has put (his) body to the test over the years” and it’s “ready to rest for sure. ” Yesterday he sounded a similar tone in a chat with former Royals beaten reporter Jeffrey Flanagan, saying that “I must admit that it is very nice to be at home“(Twitter link).

If this is the end of Cain’s gaming days, he will walk away as one of the best outfielders of his generation. A former pick of the 17th round, Cain surpassed his low draft status to reach the majors with the Brewers by 2010. Milwaukee tipped him over to the Royals the following low season, packaging him with Jake Odorizzi, Alcide Escobar And Jeremy Jeffres to land Zack Greinke.

The blockbuster played a huge role throughout MLB history in the 2010s. Cain and Escobar became key members of consecutive pennant winners in 2014-15, while Odorizzi was ultimately flipped to the Rays in the Giacomo Scudi/Wade Davis exchange. Cain played in Kansas City from 2011 to 2017, establishing himself as the club’s main center-back in 2012. He hit .289 / .342 / .421 while playing excellent defense and darting 120 bases in that stretch. He landed his first career All-Star selection in 2015 and finished third in the AL MVP rating after releasing a .307 / .361 / .477 line that year.

After that run in Royal Blue, Cain hit free will for the first time. He signed an $ 80 million five-year guarantee to return to the Brewers in January 2018. This came just days after Milwaukee’s acquisition of Christian Yelich, and the pair of marquee pickups helped kickstart at least four consecutive playoff appearances. Yelich ended up being the most impactful addition, claiming an MVP award during his first season in Wisconsin, but Cain was a full-fledged high-end player in 2018.

That year, Cain hit .308 / .395 / .417 and stole 30 bases. He got his second All-Star nod and finished seventh in the NL MVP ballot. He only released a .260 / .325 / .372 line during the second season of that deal, but he won a long-awaited Gold Glove award for his work of him at the core. After missing most of the 2020 campaign due to COVID concerns, Cain returned to a more limited role last year. He has played at roughly an average level in the league for 78 games, but this season he has had a fight. The Milwaukee DFA came after Cain registered a .179 / .231 / .234 line across 156 license plate appearances.

Cain’s contract remains on the Milwaukee books for this year. The club will owe him the remainder of his $ 18 million salary for the final season of his deal. If he were to sign somewhere else, another club would pay only the prorated portion of the $ 700,000 minimum league minimum for each time he spends in the major leagues.

Although Cain has hinted at retiring on multiple occasions in the past few weeks, he hasn’t made any formal announcements about his future. If he decides he’s interested in continuing his career, his defense and respected clubhouse presence would certainly give him opportunities in at least a minor league. If Cain is done playing, he will step back with a .283 / .343 / .407 hitting career through parts of 13 big league seasons. FanGraphs rated his career at around 30 wins over the replacement, while Baseball Reference has him at around 38 wins. By the end of this season, Cain will have amassed just over $ 100 million in earnings between his referee salaries and his contract with Milwaukee.

Image courtesy of USA Today Sports.

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