Saturday night Cueto's agent confirmed he will not use the opt-out clause in his contract to test free agency. Cueto has four years and $84 million remaining on the six-year, $130 million contract he signed during the 2015-16 offseason.
Cueto, 31, went 8-8 with a 4.52 ERA (92 ERA+) in 25 starts and 147 1/3 innings in 2017. He missed time with a blister issue and also a flexor strain. Given the injuries and the poor 2017 performance, it always seemed likely Cueto would stay with the Giants and collect his $84 million rather than try to get more as a free agent.
For the Giants, there are two ways to look at the Cueto opt-out. One, it's a good thing because he's a very good pitcher when healthy (2.79 ERA in 219 1/3 innings in 2016), and he can help them bounce back and contend in 2018. Or two, it's a bad thing because Cueto opting out would've cleared significant payroll and helped put the team in better position to spend or rebuild.
To date the Giants haven't shown much inclination for rebuilding. The team went 64-98 in 2017, though it seems likely they'll load back up this offseason and try to contend again in 2018. They still have Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey in their primes. This is no time for a rebuild. A healthy Cueto is a bona fide ace and he can be a big help going forward.