2011 – $3.4 million
2012 – $5.4 million
2013 – $7.4 million
2014 – $10 million
2015 – $10 million team option or $800,000 buyout
Add it all up and Cueto, who submitted a figure of $3.9 million for arbitration this year, receives $27 million in guaranteed money while the Reds buy out his three seasons of arbitration eligibility plus his first season of free agency and secure an option for his second year of free agency.
Taking that kind of upfront cash is rarely a mistake for a 24-year-old pitcher, but if Cueto stays healthy the Reds will likely be very happy with the deal. Barring arm problems his first two years of free agency could be worth significantly more than $20 million and the Reds were able to gain the two additional seasons of control without going crazy on any of the salaries for arbitration seasons.