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San Francisco Giants: Envisioning the 2018 Starting Rotation

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 30: Pitcher Madison Bumgarner
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 30: Pitcher Madison Bumgarner /
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San Francisco Giants
PITTSBURGH, PA – JUNE 30: Johnny Cueto #47 of the San Francisco Giants reacts after the final out of the fifth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on June 30, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

RHP, Johnny Cueto OR Free Agent

If Cueto had another 2016 level performance in 2017, it would be virtually no question whether or not he opts out. But now the Giants have to worry about him opting in, and potentially having that $22 million dollar salary on the books until he’s 37. Not entirely ideal. But if he opts in and is good, then no problem. If he opts out, no problem either, as there is a pretty good starting pitcher market out there, especially some guys hovering around the late twenties, early thirties.

If Cueto Opts out, I would expect them to try and fill his spot with someone like an Alex Cobb, Jake Arrieta, or even a Lance Lynn. Overall, the Giants weren’t good at the starting pitching position this year. A lot of moving parts, yes. But overall just not good enough. They need a few more strikeout type guys unless the Giants have a mass plan to improve their outfield defense.

Whatever happens in the offseason, they need to get legit production out of this spot in the rotation. If not, 2018 is going to be incredibly similar to 2017. They can’t afford that. Not with how much money they have locked up. If their quick downfall in ’17 is any indication of how AT&T Park will fill out if 2018 is bad as well, they won’t be able to afford any mistakes.

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