From being shown the love, to now being shown the door, Lorenzo Cain‘s Brewers tenure has come to an end.
After signing a five year, $80MM contract with the Brewers on January 25th, 2018, Lorenzo Cain returned to the organization that drafted him out of high school in the 17th round in 2004. He signed with Milwaukee on the same day that the Brewers also acquired future MVP Christian Yelich from the Marlins.
That 2018 season was a remarkable one for Cain. He ended up hitting .308/.395/.417 with a 119 OPS+ that year, mostly out of the leadoff spot. He set the table for Yelich and they were quite the dynamic duo.
In 2019, Cain’s bat regressed, as he hit just .260/.325/.372 with an 81 OPS+ but he finally won his first Gold Glove award that season, in a recognition that was long overdue.
The Milwaukee Brewers have designated outfielder Lorenzo Cain for assignment, marking the end of his tenure in Milwaukee.
In 2020, Cain seemed primed for a bounce-back season, but opted out after just five games due to coronavirus concerns after the St. Louis Cardinals arrived in town and had an outbreak.
2021 was marred by a couple of leg injuries that hampered his production and playing time, but he still ended up with a 96 OPS+. That brings us to 2022, with Cain in the final year of his contract at 36 years old, and a bat that just never was able to rebound to that 2018 level of production again.
The Brewers certainly could’ve tolerated keeping him around the roster if his bat was performing up to 2019 and 2021 levels, however. The defense is still good for Cain, but they just couldn’t handle the abysmally poor production at the plate.
This season, Cain was hitting just .179/.231/.234 with a .465 OPS and a 32 OPS+. His offensive numbers fell off a cliff.
Cain will now go on waivers, where no one will claim him. If a team does, they are on the hook for the rest of his entire $18MM salary this season. If they don’t, the Brewers are on the hook for it and the team that signs him only has to pay him league minimum.
It’s a tough way to end for Lorenzo Cain, especially just after reaching 10 years of MLB service time. MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reported that Cain and the Brewers front office had a meeting where they discussed this and mutually decided it was time to part ways. The Brewers let him get his 10 years in, which is a huge milestone for a player, and then it was time to move on.
Taking his place on the roster is Jonathan Davis, who has put up excellent numbers with Triple-A Nashville, hitting .297 with a .408 OBP and 11 stolen bases. He’ll be the backup to Tyrone Taylor in centerfield in the near future.
Sure there were struggles at the end, but Cain provided plenty of good moments and memories for Brewers fans, and he was an excellent leader in the clubhouse. Hopefully he’ll be able to catch on somewhere else and extend his career a little longer.