The Giants are cautious spenders with mountains of cash. Their ownership group plays it close to the vest, wary of the annual stadium debt and any investment that evokes thoughts of Barry Zito or Aaron Rowand. The team has an admirable balance of franchise value - ranked among the game's top 10, by all accounts - and performance, with a World Series title in hand and almost certain contention this year.

The loss of Matt Cain could blow up the whole handsome package. That's why I'm writing off the skepticism surrounding the recent negotiations and predicting a contract extension next month. (I also had Peyton Manning signing with Miami, so proceed at your peril.)

Although Opening Day is not a hard-and-fast deadline, both sides would prefer it to be settled by then, sparing everyone a season of doubt. The urgency puts a lot of pressure on Larry Baer and Brian Sabean, perhaps forcing them to abandon their preferred commitment.