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Cain would like long-term deal with Royals

MLB.com @FlannyMLB

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- With all the debate about potential long-term deals involving the Royals' pending free agents such as Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas, it seems few observers are talking this spring about center fielder Lorenzo Cain's long-term value to the team.

And that seems somewhat strange, considering what Cain brings to the team.

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- With all the debate about potential long-term deals involving the Royals' pending free agents such as Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas, it seems few observers are talking this spring about center fielder Lorenzo Cain's long-term value to the team.

And that seems somewhat strange, considering what Cain brings to the team.

In fact, Royals officials, including manager Ned Yost, believe it was Cain's absence due to a hand/wrist injury last September that put the final road block up to the club's postseason chances.

The Royals had withstood injuries to Moustakas, Alex Gordon, Salvador Perez and closer Wade Davis, and near the end of August, they were still right in the thick of the American League Wild Card race and only 5 1/2 games back of the division-leading Indians.

But Cain's injury limited him to one game in September, and the defending World Series champion Royals faded from contention.

"We could sustain a lot of injuries," Yost said, "but that one kind of put it over the edge."

Cain desperately fought to return to the lineup, and he finally tried one game in Chicago.

"I did my best," Cain said. "The hand and wrist got to the point where I was just swinging with one hand. I tried to play through it, but I couldn't swing.

"It definitely makes you frustrated. My main goal every year is to stay healthy, and I didn't do a great job of that last year. I was frustrated, because I needed to be on the field and help this team win.

"To have to sit back and not be able to do anything and watch us lose, I wasn't happy about it. I'm all about winning this year and getting back to the playoffs."

The injury is completely healed.

"No problems with the wrist," Cain said. "I've been taking some heavy cuts and I haven't made a lot of contact yet. But the wrist is really good."

Cain knows his value to the team. He knows he can be the engine that drives the Royals.

"It's nice to hear that and glad people feel that way," Cain said, "but we got a lot of guys that are valuable to this team. As a team, the way we're built, we need everyone on the field.

"To get back to where we want to be, the playoffs, we need everyone."

And, of course, this could be a special farewell tour as several players could become free agents after this season, including Cain.

"You can't help but think about that," Cain said. "You try not to, but it's there. You know, if it were up to me, I'd be here long-term."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Kansas City Royals, Lorenzo Cain