MILWAUKEE (BVM) — Lorenzo Cain was designated for assignment by the Milwaukee Brewers in June. Following a fantastic journey to MLB, Cain is enjoying his time away from the game that has brought him and fans much joy.
Journey to MLB
With the success Cain had on the diamond, some might assume he grew up with a glove and a bat in his hand. However, that’s quite the opposite of what happened. Cain didn’t start playing baseball until his sophomore year of high school. He wanted to be on the basketball court.
“No Little League. Nothing. None of that,” Cain told the Kansas City Star. “I sit back and think, ‘Damn,’ one little thing, one change here, one change there, there’s no telling where I would have been. If I would have made the basketball team, there’s no chance I would have played baseball. I know that for sure. There’s no chance.”
Cain took a chance on himself learning a new sport, and it’d soon pay off. Following his high school career, Cain attended Tallahassee Community College. He’d draw the attention of MLB teams, and in the 2004 MLB Draft, Cain was selected in the 17th round by the Milwaukee Brewers.
Following the draft, Cain would go on a five-year journey to reach the big leagues. It started when he played for the Helena Brewers, a now-defunct Pioneer League team, the Arizona Complex League (AZL) Brewers and the West Virginia Power, a South Atlantic League team. With the Power, Cain was named to the All-Star team in June 2008 and was called to the Triple-A level.
Cain played two more years in the minor leagues, and almost two years after being called up to Triple-A, Cain made his MLB debut. Cain would get his first hit a few days later. He’d suit up for the Brewers for 43 games after his debut.
However, Cain and others would be traded to Kansas City in December for Zack Greinke and Yuniesky Betancourt. Cain would sport the Royals uniform for seven seasons. In those seven seasons, Cain had two World Series appearances and two All-Star appearances. He also had a batting average of .289, an on-base percentage of .342, and an OPS of .763 with the Royals.
After the 2017-18 season, Cain returned to the Brewers after they gave him a chance to prove himself in 2004.
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) January 26, 2018
With Cain, the Brewers gained a veteran leader and a player who performed well in the clutch. From 2018-22, Cain had a batting average of .273 and an OPS of .727. Cain also helped lead the Brewers to two NL Central division titles and was one game away from reaching the World Series.
Cain, known for being a great defensive player, also won his first Gold Glove award in 2019.
Lorenzo Cain, Gold Glove winner.
A thread: pic.twitter.com/fxBxwqa3Qy
— Bally Sports Wisconsin (@BallySportWI) November 5, 2019
Unfortunately for Cain, the 2022 season brought forth struggles at the plate. In 156 plate appearances, Cain had a batting average of .179 and an OPS of .465. The disappointing performance led the Brewers to release him, but it also led some to question what really caused his release.
“I mean, it is what it is,” Cain said to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com. “That’s one of the reasons we kind of parted ways; I honestly feel like I never got that respect as a veteran, as a leader on this team, from certain coaches and certain upper management. That’s mostly why we parted ways when we did…It wasn’t [about] playing every day because I know I was struggling a little bit, this goes back to not only this year but years and years. It’s been three years where I’ve felt this way.”
No matter what the reasoning, it’d be hard for one to argue the fact that Cain gave meaningful contributions to the Brewers franchise.
Since being released, Cain has spent most of the summer with his family. Spending a significant amount of time away from baseball, one could assume Cain would miss playing.
“I have my days now and then, but for the most part, not really,” Cain said to Adam McCalvy. “I asked my boys, ‘Do y’all want daddy to continue to play?’ And within a second, all three of them said, ‘no.’”
Every day that passes, it looks more unlikely that Cain will put on an MLB uniform again. But Cain proved to many that he could flourish at the highest level of baseball and yet he seems content with this new chapter of his life.
“If you had told me I was going to play 10 years in the big leagues, I would have thought you were just messing around with me,” Cain told The Athletic. “I wouldn’t have thought that was possible.”
If this is the end of the Lorenzo Cain's major-league career, what a run:
1,171 regular-season games
190 stolen bases
.283/.343/.407 slash line
A top 3 finish for AL MVP
2 All-Star appearances
A Gold Glove Award
2015 WS champion
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) June 18, 2022