A lot of teams were interested in Johnny Cueto, but the San Francisco Giants end up signing him to keep their tradition of a super strong and impressive rotation, heading into an even year, which means winning the World Series, at least in this decade.
Cueto signed a six-year, $130 million deal, which is higher than what he turned down from the Arizona Diamondbacks two weeks ago. The Royals thought about keeping him but couldn’t compete with these prices, and the Los Angeles Dodgers seem to be slow on the draw or simply not eager to spend too much money this offseason, with plenty already on the books. He joins another starting pitcher the Giants signed this offseason, Jeff Samardzija, who got a five-year, $90 million deal.
Cueto has an opt out after the second season of this deal, suggesting the 29 year old thinks he can get an even bigger deal if his first two years with the Giants go well. After a rough and short time in the American League, he did get a happy ending thanks to his performance in the playoffs and especially the World Series. Cueto is back in the National League where his numbers put him among the best starting pitchers in baseball over the last five years.
Since 2010, he has a 2.87 ERA which is third among all MLB pitcher with at least 900 innings, and only David Price and Corey Kluber have pitched more than him over the last two years. His numbers against National League opponents suggests moving to the Giants is a good way of getting back to great regular season form, with his vs AL ERA being almost double his vs NL ERA, with a WHIP of 0.86 and striking out 5.6 batters per every walk, while against American League teams he has a WHIP of 1.37 and only 2.8 strikers per walk.
Cueto joins a starting rotation that includes Samardzija, Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain and Jake Peavy. The Giants have invested $220 million in starting pitchers; teams around the league have put in $890 million so far in starters. This leaves very little room for the Giants in terms of competing for an outfielder with some impressive hitting, which means they’ll need to settle for someone cheaper, and probably worse. But if it protects their weak (Relatively) bullpen for six-seven innings every game, it’s worth it.