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Johnny Cueto will not opt out of his contract


Giants’ right-hander Johnny Cueto has decided not to opt out of the remainder of his six-year, $130 million contract with the team, a decision that was made official when the opt-out deadline came and went late Saturday night. Cueto still has four years and $84 million left on his contract, with an additional $22 million club option (and $5 million buyout) for the 2022 season.

It hasn’t been the finest year for the righty, who went 8-8 in 25 starts with the Giants and delivered a 4.52 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 8.3 SO/9 over 147 1/3 innings. Part of his decline can be attributed to a forearm injury and a nasty case of blisters on his right hand, decommissioning him for 48 days while the club struggled to rise above last place in the NL West. When he returned in September, it was only to round out a year that saw him compile just 1.2 fWAR — his lowest mark since an injury-laden run with the 2013 Reds.

While Cueto hasn’t looked like the ace the Giants hoped he would be, he’s hardly the worst offender on a pitching staff that ranked among the worst in the league in 2017. There’s still some hope that 2018 will give the team the fresh start they need, one that features a healthy Madison Bumgarner, a successful bounce-back effort from Cueto and something resembling an offense.

As for the future? There’s no telling what Cueto’s performance will look like in four years, but the veteran righty seems open to staying in San Francisco for the foreseeable future. “I feel like we have a winning team,” he told reporters in October. “I like how the fans support us, and obviously I like the front office and everybody that’s involved with the Giants. I would like to stay here and finish my career in San Francisco.”

Report: Diamondbacks acquire Steven Souza from Rays in part of three-team deal

Tampa Bay Rays

Update (6:35 PM ET): This is a three-team deal also involving the Diamondbacks, per Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. The Diamondbacks will receive outfielder Steven Souza from the Rays and second baseman Brandon Drury will head to the Yankees. Lefty reliever Anthony Banda will go to the Rays, Piecoro adds. The Diamondbacks will also receive prospect Taylor Widener from the Yankees, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post.’s Steve Gilbert adds that the Rays will get two players to be named later from the D-Backs.

Souza, 28, is earning $3.55 million in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility, so the Rays are presumably saving money in moving him. Last season, Souza hit a productive .239/.351/.459 with 30 home runs, 78 RBI, 78 runs scored, and 16 stolen bases in 617 plate appearances. Souza’s arrival almost certainly pushes Yasmany Tomas out of a starting gig.

Drury, 25, has played a handful of positions in his brief major league career. Last year, he played second base in Arizona, batting .267/.317/.447 with 13 home runs and 63 RBI in 480 PA.

Banda, 24, made his major league debut last season, posting an ugly 5.96 ERA with a 25/10 K/BB ratio in 25 2/3 innings. The peripherals suggest he pitched better than his ERA indicated.

Widener, 23, was selected by the Yankees in the 12th round of the 2016 draft. This past season with High-A Tampa, he pitched 119 1/3 innings and posted a 3.39 ERA with a 129/50 K/BB ratio. MLB Pipeline rated Widener as the 14th-best prospect in the Yankees’ system.


Robert Murray of FanRag Sports reports that the Rays will acquire second base prospect Nick Solak from the Yankees. The Yankees’ return is presently not known.

Solak, 23, was selected by the Yankees in the second round of the 2016 draft. He spent last season between High-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton, hitting a combined .297/.384/.452 with 12 home runs, 53 RBI, 72 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases.

MLB Pipeline ranked Solak as the eighth-best prospect in the Yankees’ system and the fifth-best second base prospect in baseball, praising him for his ability to hit line drives as well as his speed.