The Ten Best Contracts of the 2016 Offseason: Player Perspective


Credit: John Hefti / USA Today Sports

Johnny Cueto, San Francisco
Six Years, $130 million
Ability to opt-out after the 2017 season

Early in the offseason, Cueto turned down a six-year deal from the Arizona Diamondbacks for $126 million. He sat and waited for a better offer, and eventually got it. Desperation may have forced the Giants’ hand in signing Cueto. Had San Francisco not stepped up for Cueto, he may have signed with the rival Los Angeles Dodgers. Having already lost out on Greinke, the Giants were unwilling to lose another target to a division rival.

Cueto was all over the map after his trade to the Kansas City Royals. While no concrete health issues were ever revealed, there certainly were signs that he was dealing with something after the trade. Cueto’s regular-season ERA with the Royals was 4.76, up from 2.62 in 19 starts with the Cincinnati Reds. He appeared to come totally unhinged in the ALCS, but rebounded to toss a dominant two-hitter in the World Series.

Cueto has the added protection of the opt-out clause in his contact. If he stays healthy and posts solid numbers (which he should be expected to in the NL West), Cueto will likely seek a new contract in two years. The Giants have taken two big gambles this offseason with Cueto and Samardzija.

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