Skip to main content

Lorenzo Cain Has Earned the Right to Go Out on His Terms

Regardless of whether he does so in Kansas City, Cain can end things however he chooses to.

In case you missed it, the Milwaukee Brewers recently designated outfielder Lorenzo Cain for assignment. The organization waited until his 10-year mark for service time before doing so, which was a classy gesture that secured Cain a full pension rather than a lesser one had he not reached that milestone. 

Now, the former Kansas City Royals star has options. He's able to sign with any team he chooses, he can wait around for a while or he can simply retire outright either immediately or at the end of the season. He's more than earned the right to go out on his terms.

Apr 24, 2018; Kansas City, MO, USA; Milwaukee Brewers center fielder Lorenzo Cain (6) reacts to the crowd as Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez (13) looks on in the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

What will those terms be, though? That's the million dollar question at this point in time. Cain, who has made it clear that he's at or near the end of the line in regards to his career, is someone many people have clamored for the team to bring back to end this year (and, presumably, his playing days). After all, he did enjoy tremendous success in Kansas City by slashing .300/.352/.437 in his four prime years — 2014-2017 — and even collecting a top-three MVP finish back in 2015. 

Cain was and still is a fan favorite and one of the best players in franchise history. That's precisely why there should be absolutely no pressure on Kansas City to initiate a conversation about a potential return, though. The best days of that partnership have long been gone. Cain is a shell of himself at the plate. In 43 games this season, he's hitting just .179 and his .055 ISO is the second-worst figure of his career. He's also striking out more than he ever has, suggesting that Father Time has caught all the way up to him. At 36, Cain is clearly not someone who will improve a team much at this point. 

Scroll to Continue

Read More

With or without Cain, the Royals have plenty to worry about in the outfield. Not only does the duo of Andrew Benintendi and Michael A. Taylor remain on the roster as trade season heats up, but Edward Olivares and Kyle Isbel also factor into the picture as possible pieces for the future. That's without mentioning the likes of Whit Merrifield, MJ Melendez, Hunter Dozier or Ryan O'Hearn who could — and very well could — log innings. The Royals have a surplus of cooks in the kitchen. Attempting to add Cain for the sake of another bat in the lineup or glove in the field doesn't make much sense.

This isn't to say that Cain wouldn't offer any value to the Royals, however. Per Baseball Savant, he ranks in the 77th percentile or better in sprint speed, outfielder jump and outs above average this year. A limited playing time situation wouldn't be the end of the world, as he'd provide the team with yet another steady baserunner and defender. His leadership and attitude would also undoubtedly be perfect fits in the clubhouse despite him not being familiar with many of the pieces anymore. The logical case for Cain back in Kansas City isn't nearly as strong as the emotional one that many are building, but it does exist nonetheless.

Regardless of what Cain chooses to do, his legacy with the Royals is intact and he doesn't owe the team anything. If he's content with one of the more inspiring careers and stories in Kansas City baseball history and is comfortable retiring soon, then he's had a great run. If he finds the fountain of youth and wants to latch on with a contender to finish out this season, he's earned that right as well. If he misses Kansas City and wishes to return, the club should at least field that phone call. Cain seems to be happy with where he's at either way, and that's the most important thing.