The San Francisco Giants have bolstered their starting rotation once again, this time inking veteran pitcher Johnny Cueto to a six-year, $130 million contract. ESPN’s Buster Olney confirmed the signing with FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi adding the specifics of the deal.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweeted earlier in the day that the Giants were making a “strong push” for Cueto.
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) December 14, 2015
Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets that Cueto’s deal includes both a club option for a seventh season and an opt-out clause after the first two seasons. That potentially allows Cueto to hit the open market once again just prior to his 32nd birthday. Cueto will earn $46 million in the first two years of the deal before the opt-out, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman.
In addition to their signing of fellow veteran right-hander Jeff Samardzija — as previously reported by the Inquisitr — the Giants’ rotation is once again a strength. Cueto and Samardzija will join ace Madison Bumgarner, veterans Jake Peavey and Matt Cain with youngster Chris Heston serving as depth.
Cueto, 30, is coming off a decent year in 2015, but definitely one he will look to improve upon. A longtime member of the Cincinnati Reds’ rotation, Cueto started the year with the Reds, pitching to a 7-6 record with a 2.62 ERA in 19 starts. But with the Reds far from playoff contention, the team dealt their ace to the Kansas City Royals at the trade deadline.
After the trade, Cueto expressed his excitement to MLB about joining the Royals and getting a chance to compete for a World Series.
“They do have a great team and I’m excited about my next chapter and I know that they play baseball very good and I’m excited. I know it’s going to be good for my career and it’s going to be good for the team.”
Pitching in the American League for the first time, the former one-time National League All-Star struggled at times for the eventual 2015 World Series champions. In 13 regular season starts for the Royals, Cueto amassed a 4-7 record with a 4.76 ERA in 81-and-one-third innings. Combined between the Reds and Royals, Cueto finished 11-13 with a 3.44 ERA in 212 innings.
But Cueto delivered for the Royals when it mattered, twirling a nine-inning gem for the Royals in Game 1 of the World Series, setting the stage for the team’s championship-winning series.
Along with Samardzija, David Price, and Zack Greinke, Cueto was expected to be one of the most sought-after pitchers on the open market. The offers came in early as the Arizona Diamondbacks offered Cueto a lucrative contract, but it was rejected, per ESPN. The offer was believed to be worth six years and $120 million.
Further reports suggested that Cueto was seeking an offer between $140 million and $160 million. While the contract that Cueto will sign with the Giants is worth less than that, it’s still higher than the Diamondbacks’ original offer.
With Cueto looking for more money, the Diamondbacks decided to splurge by signing former Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitcher Zack Greinke to a record-breaking six-year, $206 million deal. The contract makes Greinke the highest paid active player in terms of Average Annual Value (AAV), ever. Before choosing the Diamondbacks, Greinke was reportedly deciding between the Dodgers and Giants.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 14, 2015
Instead, the Diamondbacks ended up signing Greinke and Cueto is in agreement to sign with the Giants.
[Image by Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]