It's Cueto or bust for SF with Greinke signed
Now, bear with us for this post as the Greinke post broke just hours after we originally posted this article and didn't fell it necessary to redo the whole thing with another post coming Sunday. As you've probably heard by now, Zack Greinke will not be coming to San Franciso and inked a deal with the Diamondbacks instead.
In this article we broke down the similarities between Greinke and other top free agent right-hander Johnny Cueto. So, read the article by all means, just now that Greinke is no longer an option In fact, we here at The Giants Baseball Blog are kinda glad Greinke went elswhere besides LA as we'd be perfectly content with Johnny Cueto and here's why:
Just last post we gave a lay of the land in the free agent starting pitching department, and with things moving so quickly over the last few days, we may not be able to get many more opinions out before it's too late and every body's been signed.
Anyway, this one is going to be pretty short and sweet. I hear all these demands of Zack Greinke or bust if your a Giants fan, but I just simply don't see that as the case. I also don't get why Johnny Cueto isn't getting showered with attention because as I've said before, besides Greinke, it doesn't get harder to hit from the right handed batters box than Johnny Cueto. I mean, let's just do a little comparison between the two and see just how close these guys really are:Johnny Cueto RHP Age: 29
Full-Season Career Avg. (8 seasons) : 34 S, 14-11, 3.30 ERA, 214 IP, 176 K, 1.18 WHIP, 3.9 FIP
Zack Greinke RHP, Age 32
Career Full-Season (11 seasons): 32 S, 14-9, 3.35 ERA, 207 IP, 195 K, WHIP 1.18, 3.3 FIP
I also keep reading, and this is the one thing I really do fear, is the Giants going to two mid-tiere guys instead of one strong second ace or number two. I hear Samardzija and Mike Leake are the two they'd prefer in that scenario but I still think they would improve so much more if they landed themselves Cueto if not Greinke. I mean, I like Leake and Samadzija as 3rd guys and they could do a lot worse than those two, but I just think Cueto/Greinke takes them to that next level. Leake is slightly above average and Samardzija has shown more the abilites of a 3rd at best but probably a 4 on a good staff. Niether are exactly #2's which again, points to how key Cueto and Greinke are to them unless they end up going the trade route. If they go that route, they'll probably lose all their good trade chips before the season starts and have little to no ammo to work with should they need it in July.
So, who would you prefer? The flashy, more expensive and slightly older Greinke who very well may go 20-2 with a 1.55 ERA for the Giants in 2016 but have pay him an arm and a leg, handicapping the rest of your winter spending. Or, do you go with the little bit younger electric arm (yet with some injury history) coming off a sub-par year but who's track record and peripherals suggest he should again be an 18-20 game winner for years to come but has had some elbow/back issues in the past which has caused him to miss some pretty key ballgames in recent seasons? Like I've been saying, it's not my money and since Greinke is by far the best guy out there, he's obviously my 1A choice, but if they're unable to land him, I don't think Cueto is a bad second option at all and will probably cost more than $50M-$75M less total.
It;s just going to be interesting to see what they do and if they try and structure the deal somehow that gives them maybe a mutual out mid-way through. After Barry Zito's fiasco and now Matt Cain's developing headache I'm sure Brian Sabean and Bobby Evans will be on their toes as far as handing out multi-year deals to starting pitchers.
Note: We'll most likely be back Sunday or Monday with our next post and it which time maybe some names may be off the market. Anyway, we'll start taking a look at some guys who may be available via trade if the Giants are indeed unable to obtain rotation help via free agency.... And also, we can't forget about left field, and overall depth on the bench and bullpen, which the Giants seem to always prioritize the least. We'll start taking a look at some of those options in our next post and I'm sure we'll continue some pitching talk and have some new updates.