Last month, Johnny Cueto bet that he could receive an even better offer than the six years and $120 million he turned down from the Arizona Diamondbacks.
On Monday, Cueto’s bet on himself was rewarded. He got a six-year, $130 million offer from the San Francisco Giants, but with the ability to opt out after two years.
Cueto is the third prominent free agent to receive an opt-out. David Price can opt out after three years of his seven-year, $213 million deal with Boston, and Jason Heyward has two opt outs in his eight-year, $184 million contract with the Chicago Cubs.
Don’t count on an opt-out for Chris Davis or other top free agent with the Orioles.
“I don't really understand those contracts that have outs, because if the players don't perform well, it's not like they're returning the huge sums of money they're getting. But if they do well, they're allowed to become free agents. I just don't really understand that type of structure," Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette
said at Saturday’s FanFest.
"That kind of structure wouldn't work for the Orioles. I know that."
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Opt-outs are common in the NBA, and not necessarily a new thing in baseball. An opt-out midway in Alex Rodriguez’s 10-year contract got him an even bigger and longer deal with the Yankees, one that still has two years to run.
Cueto, who was never linked with the Orioles is one of a number of prominent free agent pitchers to sign this offseason. Price, Zack Greinke, who opted out of his deal with the Dodgers, Jordan Zimmermann and Jeff Samardzija have already signed. So have Hisashi Iwakuma and John Lackey.
Wei-Yin Chen, Yovanni Gallardo, Scott Kazmir and Mike Leake are the best available free agent starters.
Doug Fister, who may interest the Orioles on a one-year deal is also available.