Johnny Cueto has signed a six-year, $130 million contract with the San Francisco Giants. Interestingly, Cueto’s deal with the Giants is only about $4 million more than the Arizona Diamondbacks offered him. When Cueto turned down Arizona’s offer, the D’Backs went out and got Zack Greinke.
Of course, the Giants unsuccessfully pursued Greinke. Because they couldn’t sign Greinke (nor for that matter David Price), this is the second major pitching acquistion the Giants have made. Last week, the Giants signed Jeff Samardzija to a five-year deal worth $90 million. The Giants now have a starting rotation consisting of Madison Bumgarner, Cueto, Samardzija, Chris Heston, Jake Peavy and perhaps even Matt Cain if he ever gets healthy.
But are the Giants really better?
MadBum is a solid number one. But Cueto and Samardzija are both question marks. They are question marks that could cost the Giants nearly a quarter of a billion dollars. Despite earning a World Series ring with the Royals, Cueto had a mediocre stint in K.C. going only 4-7 with a 4.76 ERA in 13 starts after being acquired from the Cincinnati Reds at the trade deadline. While it’s true Cueto won 20 games with the Reds in 2014 and led the NL in strikeouts, he spent much of 2015 dealing with a sore elbow. It is worth noting there is an opt out provision in Cueto’s contract following the 2018 season. Meanwhile, Samardzija had an ERA just under 5.00 with the Chisox as he led the AL in hits, earned runs and home runs allowed. For all his stuff, Samardzija has had only one winning season in eight years. (That was 2011 when he went 8-4 out of the Cubs bullpen).
The Giants have won World Series in 2010, 2012 and 2014. Somehow I don’t think the additions of Cueto and Samardzija will help the Giants continue this pattern.