The details of Johnny Cueto's monster six-year contract with the Giants are flooding in, and it's more interesting than a boring ol' years/money contract. Cueto will get six years and $130 million, but the Giants will also hold a team option for the seventh season. However, he'll also have the ability to opt out of the contract after 2017 if he has a stellar start to his San Francisco career.
The annual money isn't ridiculous for a player with Cueto's track record. Consider that the Giants agreed to pay Matt Cain $21 million per season in 2012 dollars, and salaries have continued to climb since then. They're getting an ace for slightly less than standard ace money. This would appear to be an awful-second-half discount
Cueto will have the ability to opt out after 2017, though, which likely lessened the guaranteed money he's getting, if only by a bit. I've always been quite okay with opt-out clauses, considering the downside is that the player performs so brilliantly he'll make even more money as a free agent. If the Giants find themselves wishing that Cueto didn't have an opt-out clause after 2017, the deal will have been a ridiculous success.
The seventh-year option has almost zero chance of being exercised. If Cueto is still on the Giants in 2021, that will mean he didn't pitch well enough in the first two years of the deal to opt out. So he'll have to pitch poorly at first, then rally and resume being an excellent pitcher in the years after that.
Cueto and Jeff Samardzija represent $220 million of risk, and there are no guarantees they'll prevent a whole lot of runs next year, but I can see the argument for Cueto/Samardzija over Greinke/Heston. Not sure if I agree with it, but spreading the risk around makes a little sense, and it's not like Cueto is the same kind of risk as Samardzija, a pitcher with stuff that doesn't always translate into results. Cueto's stuff often translates into results. I'm just worried about that elbow keeping the stuff going.
Six years. Lots of money. Everyone get used to Johnny Cueto on the Giants. He should be here for a long time, unless he's so good, he leaves us too soon. I could get used to that scenario.