Evans: Cueto adds 'elite presence' to Giants rotation


Evans: Cueto adds 'elite presence' to Giants rotation

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants are the first team to hand out a pair of $90 million-plus deals to free agent starters, but the spending spree didn't totally go as planned.

Johnny Cueto was expected to get much more than the $130 million the Giants committed to Monday, but his offseason started with word that he turned down about $120 million from the Diamondbacks. When that became the price range, the Giants pounced.

They met with Cueto's representatives at the Winter Meetings last week and announced a six-year deal that includes an opt-out for Cueto after two years. That provision could be the key to the deal. Cueto is guaranteed $46 million during those two seasons, and if he opts out he will have lived up to the on-field expectations the Giants have for him.

[PAVLOVIC: Giants agree to six-year deal with Johnny Cueto]

"For Johnny to be able to get in essence another opportunity on the market in a couple years ... I think that was attractive to him and at some level was satisfying to him and us," general manager Bobby Evans said. "He's somebody that we've admired for a long time. We've seen him in the postseason and seen him throw a lot. He's not a guy you relish facing ... You have a guy that has a chance to be an elite presence in your rotation if he's healthy and we can play good defense behind him and he uses our ballpark to his advantage."

The health will be the key, and Cueto, who lives in the Dominican Republic, will take a physical Wednesday in San Francisco. Evans said that, from the medical info they've been given, the Giants are "very confident" that Cueto's elbow is fine.

"Our information about his elbow was that (the MRI) was in early May and that he has come through that without any further issues," Evans said.

Cueto was said to be healthy after a trade to the Royals, but he struggled. That may have helped the Giants bring him back to the National League, where Cueto's ERA since 2011 ranks second behind Clayton Kershaw.

[RELATED: With Cueto, Giants pick rotation over filling hole in left field]

"I think (the rough second half) may have had some cause in him falling maybe below a level that he might have been had he stayed in Cincinnati and pitched the way he was," Evans said.

The Giants will now continue their search for a left fielder, but sources indicated Monday that they don't plan to make a big splash. The Giants have just about reached their offseason spending cap, but Evans said he'll continue to look at all options.

As for a current member of the Giants, Evans said he sees Chris Heston on the big league roster in 2016, but doesn't want to commit to a role yet. Heston likely will enter camp as the favorite to replace Yusmeiro Petit as the long reliever.

Gabe Kapler says Brandon Crawford created self in NBA video game during hiatus


Gabe Kapler says Brandon Crawford created self in NBA video game during hiatus

Gabe Kapler's first Spring Training as Giants manager was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the 44-year-old is using virtual methods to get some reps in with the start of the season indefinitely delayed.

Kapler told KNBR's "Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks" on Monday night that he is playing "MLB The Show 20," using the game to sharpen and hone his managerial instincts, simulating games in around five minutes while making "all the decisions" in each contest. Giants hitting coach Justin Viele, meanwhile, is using the game to study tendencies of opposing pitchers.

Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford also is visualizing success, albeit in another sport.

"I played one game, and Crawford was the star of the game," Kapler said. "So I took a picture of the screen, and ... I sent it over to Craw, and so Craw looked at it, and he sent a picture of him playing an NBA video game where he was one of the players and dropped 71 points and nine assists."

It's fair to assume that Crawford, a Pleasanton native and a lifelong Warriors fan, put himself on Golden State in whichever game he was playing (our money's on NBA 2K20). That wouldn't have been a record in a real Warriors game but not a franchise one, considering Wilt Chamberlain scored at least 72 points an astonishing five times, including his NBA-record 100-point game back when the Dubs played in Philadelphia.

[RELATED: Why Timmy's first no-hitter was so unusual for Kruk, Kuip]

This, of course, leads to even more questions. Did Crawford's create-a-player have photorealistic hair? What position did he play? Were his in-game traits the same as -- or as close to it as possible -- in "MLB: The Show?" Was he still a UCLA alumnus in the game, or would he disappoint NBC Sports Bay Area's Brian Witt by not virtually representing the Bruins?

The NBA reportedly will hold an "NBA 2K20" tournament Friday night featuring player representatives for each time. Is it too late for the Warriors to choose Crawford?

Why Tim Lincecum's first no-hitter was so unusual for Duane Kuiper

Why Tim Lincecum's first no-hitter was so unusual for Duane Kuiper

Programming note: Watch the re-air of Tim Lincecum's first no-hitter against the Padres tonight at 8 PT on NBC Sports Bay Area.

For Giants fans, hearing Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow call a game is a comforting thing.

But on July 13, 2013, Kruk and Kuip weren't together for Tim Lincecum's first career no-hitter against the San Diego Padres.

They were both in Petco Park to witness history, but because the game was on NBC Bay Area rather than NBC Sports Bay Area that night, they were separated.

"Well, you know, Mike and I are together 80 percent of the time, and the other 20 percent, Mike is with Jon [Miller] on KNTV," Kuiper told Amy G in an interview on Monday. "So, that was one of those KNTV games where Mike and Jon actually had the call on TV and Dave [Fleming] and I had it on the radio. So it was a bit unusual not having Mike sitting next to me because it's always great to have a pitcher next to you when a guy is throwing a no-hitter because you get a great perspective as to what's going on."

[RELATED: Five nuggets about Lincecum's no-hitter]

NBC Sports Bay Area is re-airing Lincecum's no-hitter Monday night, and while both broadcasters will be watching, they will be doing it separately due to social distancing caused by the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.