Every year I have my dreams for what the Giants will do over the off season. And every year I’m disappointed because the Giants tend to be conservative when signing new talent. Until this year. They went and did it again, signing right-handed pitcher Johnny Cueto this week. After they signed Samardzija, I was sure they were done. But I always love surprises! Besides Greinke, Cueto was one of the most sought after pitchers in the Hot Stove League, and we nabbed him! Just thinking about a lineup that includes Madison, Cueto, Samardzija, Peavy, and Cain is making me giddy. I cannot wait for the season to start. There is already talk about the World Series run with this lineup – I like it! Cueto played for the Reds most of last season, then in late July he was picked up by the Royals to help them in their quest for a World Series win. Lucky for him. Wouldn’t it be wonderful for him to earn back-to-back rings?? Just like Jake Peavy did in 2013 with the Red Sox and 2014 with the Giants. With that lineup, it’s definitely a possibility! Plus it’s an even year, and we all know what that means! Here’s a link to some highlights from the press conference where Cueto was introduced. He’s so adorable!
Cueto gets $130 million over 6 years from the Giants. The interesting thing about the contract is that he can opt out after 2 years. That means if he’s still really productive then, he can opt out and try to get more money. However, if his performance degrades over time, the Giants are still on the hook for the entire 6 years. I had never heard of this type of clause before, but apparently it’s becoming more popular with high-end players. If Madison had done this, we would be paying him a ton more than he’s making right now. He’s locked up until 2019, making $9.75 million next season and only $12 million at the end of the contract. Compare this to Cueto’s $15 million this season and $22 million at the end of his contract – what a bargain we got in Madison!
Besides a fantastic pitcher, the Giants get much more with Cueto. Both Kruk and Kuip commented on KNBR that he has a very animated, outgoing personality, so he’ll bring some life back to the clubhouse after the departure of guys like Pablo and Jeremy Affeldt. His pitching delivery is also very entertaining – check this out. He does this crazy shimmy sometimes before he delivers the pitch. Could you imagine being the batter and trying to focus while he’s doing that? I love it! Kruk compared him to Red Sox legend Luis Tiant. Here’s a video of Tiant’s delivery. I really can’t wait to watch that every 5 days! Also, now that the Panda hats are a thing of the past, I would imagine with Cueto on the team we’ll be seeing Giants hats with dreads hanging from them as the new headwear of choice in the stands. Welcome to the team, Johnny! As you said, VAMOS!
Again, as new guys arrive some old favorites depart. The most significant for me was that Ryan Vogelsong was signed by the Pirates in a one-year deal. Mixed emotions here – sad that he’s leaving after all he did for the team and all that he meant to the fans, but happy that he’ll still be playing ball and he’ll be closer to his home in Philadelphia. You’ll always be a Giant to us, Ryan. I’ll still wear my shirt proudly in his honor whenever we play against the Pirates. Also Joaquin Arias will be going to the D-Backs, signing a minor league contract with them. I’ll really miss him coming off the bench as he always seemed to excel when he was needed most. Plus I’m sure Matt Cain will never forget that clutch catch he made during the last out of his perfect game. If you need to relive any of the other sweet moments of Arias’ career with the Giants, I found this great article from the McCovey Chronicles that sums up just a few of his contributions. Personally, I’ll never forget when I just missed getting his autograph right after he had made it to the bigs at a game we went to in Cincinnati three years ago. He was very gracious with everyone. I’ll miss you, Joaquin.
Still waiting to hear if they will continue to dip into the pocketbook and sign a left fielder. The latest name added to the mix is Denard Span of the Nationals. I recognized his name because I had chosen him several times in the Beat the Streak contest last season, meaning he’s an excellent hitter. He batted .301 last season. That would be nice. We’ll just have to wait and see. Frankly at this point, I’m perfectly happy with what we’ve got, and I think Blanco would be fine in left field, plus he can also cover for Angel if he gets injured. We’ve got enough kids who could fill in at left as well. Just happy the pitching’s been taken care of. More than happy – ecstatic!
I have another installment of “Angel’s Question” for you, and I don’t even think she realizes she asked me a question! We’ve made it a tradition for the last two years to attend the Star Wars Day at AT&T Park, and this year that game is a Dodgers game in October. I joked that we have to start planning for that game now, and she commented, “What kind of name is ‘The Dodgers’ anyway? Does that mean they are just trying to ‘Dodge’ getting struck down by an orange light saber?” Well, it got me thinking about the origin of that name – Dodgers. I did some research, and the history is very interesting. As you know, the team originally was the Brooklyn Dodgers. Before that, they were actually called the Trolley Dodgers by the sportswriters because Brooklynites of the time had to dodge the new electric trolley cars on their way to the ballpark. Over time, “Trolley Dodgers” was shortened to “Dodgers” and that’s the name that stuck. Nowadays, I guess you could consider them the “World Series Dodgers”. HA HA! Thanks again for the question, Angel!
Will keep my ears open for any trade news. Can’t stand the wait for the season to begin. Then again, there’s only 56 days until FanFest! Until next time, GO GIANTS!!