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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.”

José Ramirez’s 17-pitch at-bat kickstarts Indians’ five-run comeback in ninth inning

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With his team trailing 8-3 to begin the bottom of the ninth inning of Sunday’s game against the Astros, Indians third baseman José Ramirez eventually won a 17-pitch at-bat against closer Ken Giles, ripping a double off of the wall in right field. The Indians would go on to score five runs on seven hits to tie the game against Giles and Hector Rondon. Ramirez almost won the game in his second at-bat of the ninth inning, but first basebamn Yuli Gurriel made a terrific diving catch on a line drive otherwise headed for the right field corner.

Giants first baseman Brandon Belt set a new modern record for the longest at-bat last month, seeing 21 pitches against the Angels’ Jaime Barria. The Astros’ Ricky Gutierrez sfaw 20 pitches from the Indians’ Bartolo Colon on June 26, 1998, which was the previous record. Kevin Bass saw 19 pitches from the Phillies’ Steve Bedrosian in 1988. There have also been five 18-pitch at-bats from Brian Downing, Bip Roberts, Alex Cora, Adam Kennedy, and Marcus Semien.

Sunday’s game wound up going 14 innings. The Astros pulled ahead 9-8 in the top of the 13th on a solo home run from Evan Gattis. However, the Indians’ Yonder Alonso responded with a solo shot of his own in the bottom of the 13th to re-knot the game at 9-9. Greg Allen then lifted a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the 14th to give the Indians a 10-9 win.

After Sunday’s effort, Ramirez is batting .292/.389/.605 with 15 home runs, 37 RBI, 34 runs scored, and seven stolen bases. According to FanGraphs, his 3.5 Wins Above Replacement ranks third across baseball behind Mike Trout (4.4) and Mookie Betts (4.1). They’re the only players at three wins or above.