From Brandon Crawford, via Andrew Baggarly:
“With these two, we’ve also added a good amount of hair, which is never a bad thing…”
No argument here. My own locks are in out-of-control retirement mode so I'm in favor tonsorial adventurousness. I must say I was surprised by the Johnny Cueto deal. I did not expect the Jeff Samardzija signing but it seemed like a natural move for the club, picking up a talented under-performer for a reasonable free agent cost. The Cueto thing is bizarre. The front-loaded nature of the contract plus the opt-out makes it a puzzler. If Johnny does well, the Giants get two years for $46m ($23M/yr) and then he leaves to get a bigger windfall on the open market. But the Giants would have gotten two years of stellar starting pitching. Perhaps they are also thinking that one of the young arms in the system will be ready by 2018 (that's Matt Cain's option year). If Johnny does poorly or gets hurt, the Giants are on the hook for four more years and the remainder of the contract (about $84M or $21M/yr). So he gets paid less over the long haul if he sticks around. Matt Cain's $21M/yr will be off the books by then so if the team is going to overpay for an aging starter (Cueto is younger by a year-plus) he'll have dreadlocks instead of a crew-cut. Madison Bumgarner also has a 2018 option and will likely require a Greinkian investment to stay in orange-and-black. But this is why teams pay those smarty-pants accounting types, so we don't have to worry about it.
What am I thinking about? I'm thinking about next season. And it looks good. Consider that the Giants now have a full rotation: Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, Jake Peavy, and Matt Cain. That's a hell of a thing, man. I'm stoked. Peavy was hurt for much of last season but when he was healthy he pitched well. Cain is a question mark but he's healthy and I think he will deliver far more than fifth-starter value. And the team still has Chris Heston who can ably fill in for one of the Big Five if need be. (And then Timmy can be the 6th man!)
What's left? A little outfield help, I suppose. But it has less urgency now that the rotation has been solidified. A lefty for the 'pen, but I think that may come from within. The lineup was excellent last season and I expect more of the same. If they need a piece or two I feel like BobbyE will pull off a mid-season move and get it done.
Giants: thank you for surprising me. And thank you for fixing what was broken. Should be a hell of an interesting race in the West next year.
p.s. Warm farewells indeed to Hector Sanchez and Joaquin Arias--champions in orange-and-black. May they succeed brilliantly in their new roles but rack up 0-fers vs. the Giants.