St. Louis Cardinals: The Competition Revisited

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San Francisco Giants

Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

The great thing for the San Francisco Giants about signing Johnny Cueto — another kick in the balls for the Los Angeles Dodgers, by the way — is that the Dominican righthander won’t have to be THE guy there, which would have been the case had he taken the Diamondbacks’ big offer a few weeks earlier. Cueto doesn’t have the stones to be THE guy.

He is fascinating, though. When Cueto is on, he’s awesome. His career splits don’t really scream “choker,” either. And yet, it’s hard to forget seeing him get rattled in the 2013 Wild Card Game, when Pittsburgh Pirates fans started chanting his name. And when he joined the Royals this past season, he laid egg after egg until a couple of good postseason starts salvaged his reputation.

Luckily, with Madison Bumgarner assuming the stone-cold clutch #1 starter role, the Giants don’t have to worry about Cueto gacking in the spotlight. The pressure is off.

The Jeff Samardzija signing, on the other hand, has the stink of a panic move, coming right on the heels of Greinke’s defection to Arizona.

Even so, this is the Giants we’re talking about. The Giants, a team that patches its roster with spare parts and races to World Series titles. Expect the G-men to sign some scrub before spring training and then enjoy a career year out of him, a la former 4-A player Angel Pagan, who wasn’t good enough to stick with the Mets for chrissakes.

The Giants are like a West Coast version of the St. Louis Cardinals. Except they’ve actually improved this winter.

Next: Chicago Cubs