If the Giants’ rough 5-9 start wasn’t enough to worry fans, the potential departure of a key contributor might just do it. Starter Johnny Cueto told the San Francisco Chronicle over the weekend that he wants to end his career in the American League, despite only spending three months of his 10-year major-league career in the AL thus far.
Cueto, 31, was asked about his future during a visit to Kansas City, where he spent the final three months of the 2015 season and won a World Series ring after being acquired by the Royals in a July trade with the Reds. He spent the seven-plus years of his career with Cincinnati, and has been with the Giants since the beginning of the 2016 campaign.
Cueto signed a six-year, $130 million deal with San Francisco before last season, but has an opt-out after this season that could allow him to hit free agency once again. He appears likely to do so after a stellar first season by the bay (2.79 ERA in 219.2 innings) and a solid start this year (3.79 ERA and three wins in 19 innings), attempting to secure a deal greater than the $84 million guarantee he would receive over the next four years in San Francisco.
While Cueto’s desire to pitch in the AL seems to stem from the fact he has spent the vast majority of his career in the NL, his declaration is sure to raise some eyebrows in a season that could be his last in San Francisco. Though dollars will likely speak louder than any other factor this winter, Cueto will be looking for a long-term deal entering his age-32 season and could be looking to cash in on the final big contract of his career.