Cueto, Hundley go into offseason with different decisions to make


Cueto, Hundley go into offseason with different decisions to make

SAN FRANCISCO — Johnny Cueto smiled Sunday afternoon when asked about his future. Will he be a Giant next year?

“I don’t know. Maybe,” he said. “I’m sure I will.”

That’s been a good bet for several months, and Sunday did nothing to change the math. Cueto gave up 12 hits and four runs over five innings of his final start, and he finished the season with a 4.52 ERA and 1.45 WHIP. It was by just about any measure the worst season of Cueto’s career, and it included constant battles with blisters as well as a flexor tendon scare. 

After a season like that, it’s just about impossible to imagine a 31-year-old pitcher opting out of the final four years and $84 million of his deal. That money won’t be waiting on the market. So, why didn’t Cueto inform the Giants of his decision before leaving town? Perhaps it’s because he’s hoping he still has some leverage. 

Cueto said his agent, Bryce Dixon, would talk to general manager Bobby Evans. The Giants believe he would like to negotiate in some respect, whether that’s adding something to the deal or perhaps discussing the 2022 club option that costs $22 million. A team source said Sunday that the front office is not inclined to change any of the language of Cueto’s current deal. They want him to make a decision based on the deal he signed, and push comes to shove, you can bet Cueto will be back.

“Of course I would like to be back,” he said through interpreter Erwin Higueros. “I feel like we have a winning team.”

Nick Hundley feels the same way, and he’ll have a different type of decision to make. The veteran signed a $2 million deal in January to back up Buster Posey and ended up playing in 101 games. He hit nine homers and 23 doubles, earned praise from the pitching staff, and won the Willie Mac Award. 

“I love it here,” Hundley said. “I love these guys. Playing with these guys has been a pleasure every day. It’s a wonderful place to live and play, and the opportunity to win the World Series here is as great as in any place in the league. If everything works out, I’d love to be back.”

Hundley, 34, said the decision will be one made by his family. He has young kids and said he wants them to be comfortable. Asked about playing time and the possibility that he would get offered a starting job elsewhere, Hundley said he’ll deal with that decision when the time comes. 

“There are a lot of factors that go into it,” he said. “There are a lot of unknowns.”

Durable Longoria ready for additional boost from ballpark, Giants fans

Durable Longoria ready for additional boost from ballpark, Giants fans

SAN FRANCISCO — The field at AT&T Park is covered with patches and small piles of dirt right now, showing the signs of a winter hosting holiday parties and concerts, and a week with plenty of rain. 

For Evan Longoria, though, that grass was a beautiful sight.

A month after a trade that had him switching coasts, Longoria was introduced at a press conference at AT&T Park and ran the usual gauntlet with team employees and season-ticket holders. He spent some time this week looking for housing in the Bay Area, but soon he’ll be back in Scottsdale, getting to know new teammates and preparing his body for the 2018 season. 

Longoria said his workouts have been a bit different with a new staff, but the goal remains the same. He is a player who prides himself on taking the field every day, and that’s one of the traits that drew the Giants to Longoria. He has played at least 156 games in five consecutive seasons, and 160 in four of those seasons. 

It’s no accident that Bruce Bochy has mentioned durability during every media session this season. Andrew McCutchen has a similar track record, and the Giants lineup certainly could use some stability, especially at third base, where seven different players made double-digit starts last season. Longoria will change that. 

“I have a desire to play every day, and I think that that is infectious,” he said. “Players that may feel the grind of a long season or might be in a little bit of a funk offensively or defensively or with pitching, something like that can give you a boost when you have guys around that you know come to play and compete on a daily basis, no matter what the circumstance is.”

[RELATED: Just a number? Longoria says slow down with concerns of Giants' aging roster]

For Longoria, who turned 32 early in the offseason, the circumstance has changed for the better. After years on the unforgiving turf at The Trop, he comes to a park and division featuring nothing but natural grass. 

“I hope it helps,” he said. “Going on the road (with the Rays), my body definitely felt better when I played on grass. I’m sure that it will help. It’s definitely not going to be a negative. Not playing on the turf anymore is something that crossed my mind as soon as the trade happened.”

Longoria expects to benefit from another aspect of AT&T Park, too. The Rays finished dead last in the majors last year with an average of 15,670 fans per game. Even though their sellout streak ended, the Giants still had an average of more than 40,000 per night. Asked about playing outdoors, Longoria smiled and added, “in front of fans.”

“The environment here is obviously much different, so it’s going to be nice to step into that on a daily basis and play in front of a fan base that’s obviously very storied,” he said. “It helps with energy. It helps with motivation.”

McCutchen ready for more conversations with 'Steve the Seagull' at AT&T Park

McCutchen ready for more conversations with 'Steve the Seagull' at AT&T Park

Andrew McCutchen has been one of the best players in the National League for years now. The 31-year-old is a five-time All-Star and was named the 2013 NL MVP. 

Not only do his stats stand out, McCutchen is also one of the most entertaining players in baseball. And that's clearly going to continue in San Francisco. 

On Thursday, McCutchen was asked about the famous seagulls of San Francisco flying around the outfield at AT&T Park. 

"I definitely made a few friends out there over the years. Steve the Seagull out there, I know him," McCutchen said on KNBR. "He comes in every now and then. We have a little pow-wow when I come to San Francisco. Yeah, we get along well, me and the guys, me and the birds. They know when to come in that's for sure." 

Denard Span, who the Giants traded to acquire Evan Longoria, had a much different relationship with the seagulls. 

McCutchen is clearly the opposite of Span in this regard though. He seems about as calm as can be when it comes to the birds paying him a visit. 

"They chill, we have some conversations. It's all good," says McCutchen. 

One other aspect McCutchen can't wait for in the outfield at AT&T Park, is getting to know all the fans. Specifically, not being a part of a special chant Giants fans have for opposing outfielders. 

"I'm lookin' forward to fans not callin' me bums anymore," McCutchen said with a laugh. "I'm glad I'm on the winning side. I'm glad I'm on the San Francisco Giants side. I can't wait to meet all the fans."