Tag: Johnny Cueto

Johnny Cueto Injury: Updates on Giants Star’s Groin and Return

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Johnny Cueto was forced to exit Tuesday night’s start against the Los Angeles Dodgers with a groin injury. 

Continue for updates.

Latest on Cueto’s Timeline for Return

Thursday, Sept. 22

Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News reported Cueto will try to play catch Friday and isn’t ruled out for Sunday’s start.

Cueto Among League’s Best in Rebound Season

Cueto, 30, signed with the Giants in the offseason after going 11-13 with a 3.44 ERA, a 1.13 WHIP and 176 strikeouts for the Cincinnati Reds and Kansas City Royals—with whom he won the World Series title in 2015. He struggled in his short stay in the American League, however, posting a 4.76 ERA and 1.45 WHIP in 13 regular-season starts.

The Giants were banking on a return to the National League rejuvenating Cueto, who established himself as one of the best pitchers in baseball in his seven-and-a-half seasons with the Reds. In 2014, he was an All-Star and finished as a runner-up in Cy Young voting.

He also went 2-1 in the 2015 postseason, including a complete-game, two-hit, one-run victory over the New York Mets in Game 2 of the World Series.

He’s 17-5 this season with a 2.79 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 187 strikeouts in 212.2 innings pitched.

In San Francisco, Cueto joined an excellent rotation that includes Madison Bumgarner, Jeff Samardzija and Matt Cain, while the team acquired Matt Moore at the trade deadline. The Giants—watching as the Mets reached the World Series behind the trio of Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard—felt that upgrading the rotation was a priority in the offseason.

But despite that impressive depth, the Giants will hope Cueto is able to return in time for his next start with the team fighting for its life in a wild-card race that figures to come down to the wire. 


You can follow Timothy Rapp on Twitter.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Johnny Cueto Comments on Not Being Invited to Royals’ White House Ceremony

San Francisco Giants pitcher Johnny Cueto reportedly wanted to be included in the Kansas City Royals’ championship celebration at the White House, but the team did not extend him an invitation.

The defending World Series champions visited President Barack Obama on Thursday, and Cueto discussed his snub Saturday, per Ronald Blum of the Associated Press: “I believe that I earned it. I was on the team. I did something for the team for them to win the World Series, so I was expecting it.”

Before Cueto signed with the Giants in the offseason, he started 13 regular-season games for Kansas City in 2015. He struggled with a 4-7 record and 4.76 ERA but rectified that with a gem against the New York Mets in the World Series, pitching a complete game while allowing two hits and one run during Kansas City’s 7-1 victory in Game 2 of the Fall Classic.

Blum noted Cueto didn’t talk to the Royals about attending the celebration.

“But I also feel that it’s the team’s, the organization’s responsibility to invite me,” Cueto said. “I did a job for them, so I think that they should have had the courtesy to invite me.”

The Royals only invited players who were on the squad for the entire 2015 season, including the active postseason roster.

That meant other players, such as the Chicago Cubs’ Ben Zobrist (who also played for the Oakland Athletics last year) and outfielder Jonny Gomes (who also played for the Atlanta Braves in 2015) weren’t invited either, as Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News pointed out.

However, Baggarly noted the Giants had an off day Thursday and were on the East Coast in preparation for their series against the New York Yankees. Logistically, it wouldn’t have been much of a stretch for Cueto, who began the 2015 campaign with the Cincinnati Reds, to attend the ceremony.

Despite his regular-season struggles with Kansas City in 2015, Cueto has been one of the best players on the Giants roster this year. He started the All-Star Game for the National League and sported a 2.64 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 119 strikeouts in 136.1 innings as of Saturday. He is one reason San Francisco leads the National League West over the rival Los Angeles Dodgers.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Johnny Cueto’s Opt-Out Clause Could Be Dream Scenario for SF Giants

Johnny Cueto has yet to throw a meaningful pitch for the San Francisco Giants, so it’s a bit early to be talking about his opt-out clause. Right?

Well, yes. But let’s do it anyway, because speculation is fun and opt-outs matter in today’s MLB.

The Giants, in case you missed it, handed Cueto a six-year, $130 million deal this winter after whiffing on Zack Greinke. Like many big contracts these days, Cueto’s has an escape clause wherein he can test the free-agent waters again after the 2017 season.

This sets up two possible scenarios:

Scenario A: Cueto gives San Francisco its money’s worth this year and next, then hits the market ahead of his age-32 season.

Scenario B: Cueto struggles or gets injured and decides to stick around for the duration of the deal.

Now, if you’re the Giants, obviously you prefer Scenario A. Two years of prime Cueto—the guy who eclipsed 200 innings in each of the last two seasons and led the National League in strikeouts in 2014—would look mighty nice next to ace lefty Madison Bumgarner. 

It would also sting to watch Cueto walk away under those circumstances. But it could end up a blessing in disguise.

Think of it this way: In 2016, the Giants are getting Cueto in his prime. Yes, there are questions about the subpar stat line he put up after a trade-deadline swap to the Kansas City Royals.

And there are the elbow issues that forced him to miss a start last year with the Cincinnati Reds. “Johnny, a little bit unfairly, had a lot of questions about his arm,” Cueto’s agent, Bryce Dixon said, per CSN Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic.

But, as he showed with his sparkling start for KC in Game 2 of the World Series, Cueto still has the stuff to be one of the most dominant right-handers in the game.

Here, take a look for yourself:

The projection systems are optimistic, with ZiPS foretelling a 2.87 ERA in 207 innings, per FanGraphs. And in 2017, Cueto will be in a pseudo-contract year, with all of the added motivation that implies.

Pitchers can break down at any time, but the probability of Cueto throwing at an All-Star level for the next two seasons is high, especially when you factor in the Giants’ excellent defense and the spacious confines of AT&T Park.

So, back to Cueto’s opt-out. If he exercises it, he’ll join the post-2017 season’s free-agent class. The following year, however, boasts an impossibly deep pool that could also include the likes of Bryce Harper, Josh Donaldson, Andrew McCutchen, David Price, Clayton Kershaw, Manny Machado, Jason Heyward, Jose Fernandez, Dallas Keuchel and Matt Harvey. 

“That’s decent talent,” an unnamed general manager told MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince, presumably with his tongue inserted firmly in his cheek. “That’s a good year.”

With the remainder of Cueto’s contract off the ledger, the Giants would be free to go after one or more of those franchise stars in 2018. Sure, bidders will be plentiful and salaries will melt eyeballs. But with that much talent for the taking, everyone should be angling for payroll flexibility.

Imagine, for a moment, that instead of a six-year deal, the Giants signed Cueto for two years. Then imagine he acquits himself admirably for those two years before signing a longer deal with someone else and allowing San Francisco to ink any of those players listed up there. 

Sounds like something close to a dream scenario, right? At the very least, it’s nothing to lose sleep over, as McCovey Chronicles’ Grant Brisbee outlined:

…the biggest downside to every contract is that the team will have to pay the entire contract to a pitcher who isn’t worth it. That’s still true with a traditional contract. If you’re telling me that the biggest downside specific to an opt-out deal is that another team might get the chance to absorb the risk of a pitcher entering his mid-30s, and the consolation prize is that the Giants get two fantastic years and exactly what they paid for, I’m just not that scared.

That runs counter to Commissioner Rob Manfred, who made it clear in December he’s not a fan of the opt-out.

“Personally, I don’t see the logic of it,” he said, per Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. “But clubs do what they do.”

If Manfred wants an example of why opt-outs can benefit the team as well as the player, Cueto might be the poster boy.

Maybe he’ll crash and burn for the next two seasons and the Giants will be on the hook to pay him. Or maybe he’ll opt out and they’ll choose to bring him back. Remember, we’re hanging out in Speculationville. 

But if you’re trying to game out the best outcome for San Francisco, it’s two years of top-shelf Cueto and dollars to spend in 2018.

First, though, let’s watch him throw a meaningful pitch in the orange and black. 


All statistics and contract information courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Johnny Cueto Injury: Updates on Giants Star’s Possible Concussion and Return

Johnny Cueto, one of the San Francisco Giants‘ two big offseason acquisitions, is recovering from a possible concussion after being hit with a line drive on Monday.

Continue for updates.

Agent Comments on Cueto‘s Recovery

Tuesday, March 15

Jon Morosi of Fox Sports talked to Bryce Dixon, Cueto‘s agent, who said his client is “doing fine” and will follow up with the Giants staff on Tuesday.

Cueto Placed in Concussion Protocol

Monday, March 14

Cueto is being checked by team doctors for a concussion, according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. He will be observed for concussion symptoms, per Schulman, but manager Bruce Bochy believes he’ll be fine. Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area noted Cueto had a bump on his forehead but didn’t show signs of having a concussion. 

A line drive off the bat of Billy Burns of the Oakland Athletics hit Cueto in the head, as Casey Pratt of CSNBayArea.com shared:

He would continue to pitch after trainers checked on him, but he was taken back to Scottsdale Stadium to be further examined, per Schulman

Cueto Unable to Shake Injury Bug

Injuries have always been bubbling under the surface with Cueto, even though he’s been able to avoid a major problem in the past two seasons.

Cueto missed time early in 2015 as a member of the Cincinnati Reds with elbow stiffness, though an MRI revealed no structural damage, and he was able to return without going on the disabled list.

Injuries have slowed the 30-year-old throughout his career, as he’s crossed the 180-inning threshold just four times in eight seasons. When healthy, he’s one of the best pitchers in baseball, with two top-five finishes in National League Cy Young Award voting (2012 and 2014).

Cueto wasn’t his normal self after Kansas City acquired him last July. He had a 1.45 WHIP and 4.76 ERA in 13 starts following the trade, but he did end things on a high note with a complete-game two-hitter in Game 2 of the World Series against the New York Mets.

Losing Cueto would hurt San Francisco’s rotation, but the Giants are fortunate to have Madison Bumgarner as their ace and Jeff Samardzija to support him if Cueto indeed misses regular-season starts because of the injury.

This isn’t how the 30-year-old wanted to start his career with the Giants, but hopefully he’s able to rebound from this setback quickly.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Madison Bumgarner-Johnny Cueto Duo Can Be Best of Giants’ Title Era

It’s an even year, San Francisco Giants fans. And that means—well, here’s the thing. You want honesty?

It means nothing.

There is no mystical energy that binds the galaxy together and decrees the Giants must hoist a Commissioner’s Trophy in 2016. Yes, they won titles in 2010, 2012 and 2014. That’s a fascinating numerical anomaly, but it’s not a harbinger of things to come.

On the other hand, here’s something that could help San Francisco add to its gaudy championship heap: the dynamic duo of Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto.

The Giants built each of their recent World Series runs around pitching. In 2010, it was a young, homegrown rotation headlined by Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain. In 2012, it was Bumgarner and Cain, with a surprise assist from redeemed albatross Barry Zito.

And in 2014, it was basically Bumgarner all by himself, including one of the most transcendent postseason relief appearances in baseball history in Game 7 of the Fall Classic:

Last year, the Giants led the National League in batting average and finished among the top five in hits, runs and OPS. Yet their starting pitchers posted a 3.95 ERA and were a mixture of inconsistent and mediocre after Bumgarner. Unsurprisingly, they missed the playoffs.

Also unsurprisingly, the Giants front office made pitching a priority this winter. First, it inked Jeff Samardzija to a five-year, $90 million deal. Then, it nabbed Cueto for six years and $130 million.

Samardzija, an All-Star in 2014 who led both leagues in earned runs and hits allowed last year with the Chicago White Sox, is an intriguing reclamation project who should benefit from San Francisco’s strong defense and the spacious confines of AT&T Park.

But the real prize is Cueto, a legitimate ace-level arm who joins Bumgarner to form one of MLB‘s best lefty-righty tandems, especially now that Zack Greinke has left Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers for a mercenary’s payday in Arizona.

So where do Cueto/Bumgarner rank in the pantheon of Giants’ title-run twosomes? We won’t know the answer until the season plays out, obviously, and we see whether San Francisco actually makes a title run.

But let’s say S.F. does charge back into the October picture. If Bumgarner and Cueto replicated their 2015 regular-season numbers, here’s how they’d stack up against Lincecum/Cain from 2010 and Cain/Bumgarner from 2012:

Bumgarner and Cueto would have the highest combined WAR, if that stat does anything for you, and the highest strikeout total. It’s tough to discount Lincecum at the height of his powers coupled with vintage workhorse Cain. But Johnny and MadBum are squarely in the mix.

Bumgarner, quite simply, just keeps getting better. He’s eclipsed 200 frames in each of the last five seasons, has kept his ERA under 3.00 for three consecutive campaigns and has made three straight All-Star teams.

And he’s locked into a ridiculously affordable contract with the Giants through 2019, assuming they pick up a pair of $12 million team options (a safe assumption).

Cueto‘s 2015 numbers, meanwhile, were skewed by a late-season slide that saw him post a 4.76 ERA after a trade-deadline swap from the Cincinnati Reds to the Kansas City Royals.

Many theories were floated to explain his K.C. malaise, including an elbow strain that cost him a couple of starts in May with the Reds. That may have limited the pool of offseason bidders, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post noted:

But the Giants conducted an MRI and were apparently satisfied. “His elbow looks great,” San Francisco general manager Bobby Evans said, per CSN Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic. “It really looked good.”

Speaking of which, Cueto looked more than good in his final start of 2015, a complete-game masterpiece in Game 2 of the World Series against the New York Mets.

That gem didn’t erase all doubt about Cueto‘s struggles with the Royals, but it was about as emphatic a punctuation mark as anyone could hope for.

Still, he languished unsigned while David Price and Greinke inked contracts north of $200 million. And he “settled” for his deal with the Giants, which allows him to opt out after two years if he thinks he can get more on the open market.

For now, he can settle into a pitchers’ yard with an all-world catcher in Buster Posey and a widely respected pitching coach in Dave Righetti.

“It’s already a great rotation,” Cueto said of the group that will include himself, Bumgarner, Samardzija, veteran Jake Peavy and a recovering Cain, per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com). “I will just come here to complement the rest of the guys.”

The Giants are hoping he can do more than complement. They want him to turn the clock back, just a couple ticks, to 2014, when he led the Senior Circuit in strikeouts and innings pitched with his vast repertoire and signature herky-jerky delivery.

Putting that guy next to a still just 26-year-old Bumgarner is a scary thought for opposing hitters. Heck, Cueto won’t be 30 until February, meaning time as well as stuff is on this duo’s side.

They may not have that much in common, the dreadlocked right-hander from the Dominican Republic and the tree-chopping southpaw from North Carolina. And there are legitimate questions about durability on Cueto‘s part.

But they’ve got the Giants. They’ve got immense combined ability and potential. And they’ve got an even year ahead.

Probably that last bit means nothing. Then again, it could mean everything.


All statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Johnny Cueto’s Top Quotes from Introductory Press Conference with Giants

Knowing that they are a safe bet to win the 2016 World Series given their recent history in even years, the San Francisco Giants took steps to ensure a fourth title in seven seasons by signing Johnny Cueto

Coming off a World Series win with the Kansas City Royals, Cueto agreed to a six-year, $130 million deal with the Giants on Wednesday, per MLB.com’s Chris Haft.   

The even-year phenomenon was not lost on Cueto, who posted a special Twitter message to Giants fans on Wednesday:

On Thursday, the Giants unveiled their prized free-agent acquisition with Cueto meeting the San Francisco media for the first time. 

Giants general manager Bobby Evans kicked off the festivities by expressing his gratitude to Cueto, per the team’s official Twitter account:

Evans also talked about how the Giants were able to land Cueto and Jeff Samardzija to bolster their starting rotation, per Steve Bitker of KCBS Radio:

After Evans got the chance to thank Cueto, the 29-year-old right-hander returned the favor to the team, per the Giants’ official Twitter account:

Cueto and the Giants officially unveiled his jersey and uniform number as well, per the team’s official Twitter account:

One of the big concerns around giving Cueto a long-term deal this offseason revolved around his health. He made just 11 starts in 2013 because of injuries, was briefly shut down early in 2015 because of elbow problems and struggled with a 4.76 ERA in 13 starts with the Royals after a midseason trade. 

The discussion around Cueto’s health was certainly not lost on him, and he addressed it during Thursday’s press conference, per Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle:

Evans also discussed the injury concerns, per Andrew Baggarly of the Bay Area News Group:

After Cueto’s deal with the Giants was announced, he said one of San Francisco’s biggest stars got hold of him to offer a warm welcome, per the team’s official Twitter account:

Cueto has a high opinion of Buster Posey and all of his new teammates, calling the Giants a “team of champions,” per Janie McCauley of the Associated Press. 

Things have opened up in the National League West with the Giants adding Cueto and Samardzija to their rotation behind Madison Bumgarner, while Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller joined the Arizona Diamondbacks as the Los Angeles Dodgers have surprisingly been relatively quiet. 

If Cueto can pitch at the level he did in 2014, leading the league in innings pitched and finishing second in NL Cy Young voting, the Giants are going to be dangerous.

He’s been given a clean bill of health and ended 2015 on a high note with a complete-game two-hitter against the New York Mets in Game 2 of the World Series, so all signs point to a stellar 2016 campaign for San Francisco’s newest starting pitcher. 

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Johnny Cueto Could Put Giants’ Pitching Staff Back Among MLB’s Best

At best, Johnny Cueto for six years and $130 million gives the San Francisco Giants the bargain of the winter.

Don’t believe it? Check the numbers, the other numbers, the ones that show Cueto with the second-best ERA in the major leagues over the last five seasons. He’s at 2.71, behind Clayton Kershaw but just ahead of Zack Greinke (2.82), the guy who will cost the Arizona Diamondbacks $76.5 million more over the same six years.

Oh, and the 29-year-old Cueto is two-and-a-half years younger than Greinke. And after pitching to that 2.71 ERA while playing most of his home games at the hitter-friendly ballpark the Cincinnati Reds call home, he’s about to move to the pitcher-friendly home of the Giants.

You can make this one sound really good, and you can bet the Giants will when they discuss the deal agreed to Monday (and first reported by Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com).

It could work out great for the Giants, with another ace to team with Madison Bumgarner atop their rotation. It could work out just as well for Cueto, which is why I argued in this space three weeks ago that he should want to sign with the Giants.

That’s could rather than should. It’s could, because the reason the Giants were able to sign Cueto for a fraction of what Greinke and David Price signed for (and less per year than Jordan Zimmermann got from the Detroit Tigers) is that Cueto carries some mystery along with that 2.71 ERA.

There’s been speculation for months about his health, speculation that didn’t completely go away even when he topped 200 innings for the third time in four seasons, or when he made four more starts in the postseason for the Kansas City Royals.

Cueto’s horrible ALCS start in Toronto raised more questions, even though his two huge postseason wins—Game 5 of the division series and Game 2 of the World Series—were better than anything Price has done in October.

If you’re going to pay a guy $21.7 million a year, you’d like him to be dependable enough that you don’t need to carefully pick where he pitches. The Royals felt a need to arrange their World Series rotation so Cueto would pitch only at home.

Then again, if Cueto came with fewer questions, he’d also come with the same $30-plus-million-a-year price tag as Price and Greinke. Instead, the Giants got him at an amount that allowed them to also sign Jeff Samardzija for five years and $90 million.

With Bumgarner, Cueto and Samardzija at the top of the rotation, the Giants can match up to Arizona’s Greinke, Patrick Corbin and Shelby Miller (and easily top anyone the Los Angeles Dodgers can currently team with Kershaw). The Giants can fill out their rotation with veterans Matt Cain and Jake Peavy or with Chris Heston, who had a 3.95 ERA (and a no-hitter) as a rookie.

The Giants could still use something of an offensive boost. Someone such as Justin Upton or Yoenis Cespedes would work, but as Alex Pavlovic of CSNBayArea.com tweeted Monday afternoon, they’ve probably spent their big money for this winter:

The Giants went into the winter with some money to spend, and with a plan to fulfill their every-other-year destiny. The plan was to sign a difference-making pitcher, and while the Giants’ initial hope was that it would be Greinke, they barely had to course correct when he went to Arizona instead.

They quickly signed Samardzija but had enough money left to get Cueto, too.

He was still out there on the market, the one big pitcher remaining. He had turned down $120 million for six years from the Diamondbacks, and when the winter meetings ended last week there, there was some talk that Cueto and his agent Bryce Dixon had made a mistake.

Instead, Cueto ended up in a place he can thrive, with a manager (Bruce Bochy), pitching coach (Dave Righetti) and catcher (Buster Posey) who have a history of getting the most out of pitchers. He should find every bit the comfort zone he had in Cincinnati—the one he eventually found in Kansas City in time to help the Royals win a World Series.

The Giants and their fans even love a little eccentricity. Check out how the team welcomed Cueto on Twitter:

He has that hair, and he has that ring, the one Greinke and Price are still chasing. That’s got to be worth something.

Something like six years and $130 million.


Danny Knobler covers Major League Baseball as a national columnist for Bleacher Report.

Follow Danny on Twitter and talk baseball.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

The Hottest Questions of the 2015-2016 MLB Offseason, Post-Winter Meetings

Johnny Cueto and Jose Fernandez are just two of the big league stars whose future has yet to be determined as the winter meetings recede into the background and the 2015-2016 MLB offseason rolls along.

In addition to Cueto, there are at least a couple of prominent players who are still waiting to hit the free-agent jackpot. Meanwhile, Fernandez isn’t the only dynamic major leaguer who just can’t seem to shake all those pesky trade rumors.

After taking an inventory of all the action in Nashville, Tennessee, here’s a breakdown of the biggest questions (and answers) from the baseball week that was.

Begin Slideshow

MLB Winter Meetings: Deals That Could Go Down on the Last Day in Nashville

The 2015 MLB winter meetings have not disappointed, as several high-priced players have been made available either through free agency or via trade.

Yet, the market for offensive firepower has been relatively quiet to this point, but with the winter meetings set to close at the end of the day Thursday, we could see some last-minute deals done before the general managers part ways.


1. Jason Heyward makes his long-awaited decision

It seems clear that Jason Heyward is going to make his decision before the winter meetings draw to a close.

Heyward is the key to opening up the outfield free-agent market, as Alex Gordon, Yoenis Cespedes and Justin Upton are all waiting to see how much the lefty is offered before agreeing to contracts of their own.

The Cardinals and Cubs appear to be at the forefront of the conversations surrounding Heyward, who will ultimately decide which NL Central club is more appealing. St. Louis was the best team in the major leagues during the regular season, winning 100 games while winning the division crown.

But the Cubs were arguably the most surprising team of 2015, and their surplus of young talent should appeal to Heyward.

Theo Epstein isn’t afraid to pay free agents, as evidenced by the Ben Zobrist signing, but St. Louis will likely emerge victorious in this bidding war.

After seeing how valuable Heyward was at the plate and in the field, it just wouldn’t make sense for the Cardinals to let him go. Heyward gets paid and will be a Cardinal for years to come.


2. Chris Davis returns to Baltimore

One of the biggest sluggers on the market, Chris Davis, remains available, although several teams seem reluctant to pay a guy who struck out 208 times the $200 million he is supposedly requesting.

The Orioles were one of those teams reluctant to meet that price tag but still remain the favorite to land Davis.

However, Davis has 126 homers over his past three seasons, which has to intrigue some teams who struggled to hit the long ball in 2015.

The Orioles seem to have shown the most interest in Davis throughout the offseason and would be willing to reopen previous talks if his price comes down.

In the end, Davis signs with Baltimore for less than he is currently asking for after realizing he’s not likely to get the same long-term deal from other teams.


3. Todd Frazier heads to Cleveland

Cincinnati has a slugger of its own in Todd Frazier, one it had to trade in order to truly kick off the great Reds rebuild of 2015.

Frazier is an intriguing option for many teams, as his 35 home runs make him a middle-of-the-order threat. What makes him even more valuable is his defense, as he finished as a Gold Glove finalist at third base in 2015.

At first, it seemed the Angels were a perfect fit, but their weak farm system and unwillingness to pay the luxury tax have likely soured any deals for a player of Frazier’s caliber.

Cleveland has emerged as a front-runner in the Todd Frazier sweepstakes, and it has enough young pitching depth to make the deal happen. The Indians would likely have to part ways with a starting pitcher such as Carlos Carrasco to make the trade happen, but they appear to have enough depth to consider it as a possibility.

Carlos Santana led the Indians with just 19 homers in 2015, so Frazier could step in and become the power threat this team desperately needs.

Right now, Cincinnati’s asking price seems to be too high for Cleveland to agree to a deal, but if the Reds bring down their offer, expect the Indians to pounce and make a trade happen.

So now we’ve talked about some of the big bats on the market, but how about those remaining pitchers that could be available?


4. Johnny Cueto becomes a Cardinal

Johnny Cueto is now the most sought-after starting pitcher on the free-agent market. Cueto‘s performance in Game 2 of the World Series only increased his value, and the fact he is still 29 years old makes him an easy long-term commitment.

Despite both the Dodgers and Giants acquiring starting pitchers this offseason, Cueto remains linked to the NL West rivals. However, the Dodgers appear more inclined to work on their bullpen, while the Giants are targeting outfield help as a main priority.

St. Louis is a potential landing point; however, many Cardinal fans still remember this moment in one of the ugliest brawls in recent memory. 

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, though, Cueto‘s agent sees the Cardinals as a likely fit for his client’s services.

Houston and Seattle are also looking to fill voids in their starting rotations, but Cueto‘s asking price will likely be out of either team’s range, especially with cheaper options on the market like Scott Kazmir.

In the end, St. Louis will sign Cueto to a large deal, and all will be forgiven in St. Louis when he leads the Cardinals back to another division title in 2016.


5. Andrew Miller is traded to the Dodgers

The last deal that has some potential would be a trade between the two wealthiest teams in baseball: the Yankees and the Dodgers. 

After seeing their trade for Aroldis Chapman go absolutely haywire due to possible domestic violence charges, the Dodgers appear to have moved on and set their sights on Yankees closer Andrew Miller.

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports believes Miller is now the top priority for a Dodgers team seeking bullpen help.

While he doesn’t throw 100 miles per hour on a regular basis like Chapman, Miller still features a dominant fastball and a nasty slider.

L.A. seems to have made it a priority to add another solid bullpen arm to go alongside Kenley Jansen, and Miller fits the bill perfectly.

The Astros were the other team with major interest in Miller, but after trading for Ken Giles, their interest in the Yankees lefty has waned. 

With a strong farm system and enough of a budget to take on incoming contracts, a deal between the Dodgers and Yankees seems highly likely. 

With spring training still almost three months away, all we can do is wonder how each offseason move will impact teams in 2016.

But if the last day of the winter meetings is anything like the first three, we’re in for a roller-coaster ride full of trades and giant contracts for players who could be leading their new teams to playoff success in 2016.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Johnny Cueto: Latest News, Rumors, Speculation Surrounding Free-Agent SP

Even in a market loaded with talented starting pitchers, Kansas City Royals starter Johnny Cueto is sure to generate plenty of suitors as teams look to bolster their rotations this winter.

Continue for updates.

Multiple Teams Pursuing Cueto

Monday, Nov. 30

Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported that Cueto has received calls from the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs and others.

Heyman added that “the market still favors Cueto and he isn’t about to rush into anything.”

Cueto’s Contract Demands Revealed

Monday, Nov. 30

Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reported that clubs in Cueto’s market believe the pitcher is seeking a deal in the $140-160 million range. Crasnick added that a deal of that value would put him in the range of Cole Hamels and Jon Lester’s deals.

Diamondbacks Reportedly Offered Cueto 6-Year Contract

Monday, Nov. 30

According to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com, Cueto turned down a six-year, $120 million contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Crasnick reported that chief baseball officer Tony La Russa, general manager Dave Stewart and club president Derrick Hall all went to the Dominican Republic to make the pitch to Cueto.

Earlier in the day, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported that the Diamondbacks met with Cueto’s agent, Bryce Dixon. 

Cueto Looking to Cash in After Up-and-Down Season

Cueto, 29, had an interesting 2015 season. He went 7-6 with a 2.62 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 120 strikeouts in 130.2 innings pitched with the Cincinnati Reds before being traded to the Royals, where he struggled somewhat, going 4-7 with a 4.76 ERA, 1.45 WHIP and 56 strikeouts in 13 starts.

He had an up-and-down postseason as well, going 2-1 with a 5.40 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in four starts, though he did pitch brilliantly in Game 2 of the World Series against the New York Mets, giving up just two hits and a run in a complete-game 7-1 win. 

Cueto was one of the National League’s most consistent aces in recent years, so his struggles in Kansas City came as something of a surprise. But his dominance in the World Series was a reminder of his prowess, and plenty of teams would love to add a starter with his track record to the rotation.

With David Price and Zack Greinke likely to set the free-agent market for starting pitchers, Cueto is in line for a major payday.


Follow TRappaRT on Twitter

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress