Giants betting on the 'True Cueto,' but the move does make sense

In any year of Johnny Cueto's six-year contract in which the San Francisco Giants get the good version of him -- the one we saw in 2012, 2014 and the first half of 2015 -- this deal will look like a bargain for the club. I just have no idea how often that iteration of Cueto is going to show up, and since his elbow flared up mid-2015 and he struggled down the stretch, I'm inclined to think they're going to get the wrong version as often as they get the right one.

As I wrote in my free-agent capsule on Cueto -- I ranked him ninth in this year's FA class -- if "Cueto is healthy, I've got him too low, and if he's not healthy, then I have him too high," and that's all still true. Without knowing exactly what's going on in Cueto's elbow, and what the cause was of his sudden inconsistency and occasional awfulness, I can't tell you whether this is a good deal or not. It seems like it prices Cueto as a low-risk commodity -- that is, as if he's going to have at least four of those "True Cueto" years out of six in the deal (ignoring the opt-out after the second year. … I'll address that in a moment). I don't know how realistic that is, but based on the history of free-agent starters, and the Occam's Razor-like philosophy that pitchers who've been hurt will probably get hurt again, it looks like it's too optimistic.

Cueto in AT&T Park could be a blast, though.