Johnny Cueto Rumors

Rosenthal On Reds, Latos, Tomas, Gregorius

The Reds had yet to place any of their starting pitchers on waivers as of Saturday morning, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports in his weekly “Full Count” video. As Rosenthal notes, their waiver status may be a moot point, as each would likely be claimed and subsequently pulled back. More highlights regarding the Reds and the rest of the league below…

  • The real drama surrounding the Reds‘ rotation could come this offseason, as Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Mike Leake and Alfredo Simon will all be entering their final year of team control. The Reds will have to decide which, if any, they want to sign to a long-term deal, and Rosenthal notes that they will likely trade “at least” one. Latos is perhaps the likeliest candidate to be dealt, according to Rosenthal, who notes that both Latos and Cueto would command more than Homer Bailey‘s six-year, $105MM contract.
  • Rusney Castillo‘s six-year, $72.5MM contract with the Red Sox might not stand as the largest deal for a Cuban free agent very long. Yasmani Tomas is expected to be cleared as a free agent this offseason, and his huge raw power will be highly appealing, even if he is limited to left field, defensively speaking. As Rosenthal points out, Tomas is four years younger than Castillo and is against a crop of weak free agent bats. One executive that spoke with Rosenthal said the only flaw he sees in Castillo is his propensity to swing and miss.
  • Rosenthal points back to a report of his prior to the trade deadline in which he had learned that the Nationals were looking for a young shortstop on the trade market. He’s now learned that Didi Gregorius of the Diamondbacks was one of their targets. Washington had planned on playing Gregorius at second base in the near-term and moving him back over to shortstop if Ian Desmond could not be retained. Of course, the club still wants to extend Desmond, who is a free agent following the 2015 season.

Reds Notes: Votto, Cueto, Marquis

While most of the major injuries we’ve seen this season have come on the pitching front, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (via Twitter) that there could be another significant injury to a hitter. Sources tell Rosenthal that Joey Votto did not make the current road trip with the Reds and is staying back to undergo an MRI on the same knee that he had surgically repaired in 2012. Cincinnati has already lost roughly a month of Jay Bruce as well as two months of Mat Latos, and an extended absence for Votto is the last thing they need to see as they sit seven games back in the NL Central. However, a DL stint does appear to be likely, according to Rosenthal. Here are some more Reds-related items…

  • Jeff Sullivan is up in the latest edition of Fangraphs on FOX, and within it, he breaks down the changes that Reds ace Johnny Cueto has made to his two-strike approach. The changes, which have resulted in Cueto more than tripling his rate of called third strikes, have vaulted Cueto into the elite ranks of Major League pitchers and made him the clear favorite for the NL Cy Young Award, writes Sullivan.
  • Cueto knows that he’s dominating this season and told Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News that he considers himself the best pitcher in baseball right now. Said Cueto (through a translator): I would say, yes, definitely yes. My numbers have to talk for me. Every time I go on the mound I do my job. And I do my job to get the best numbers.” Cueto has a no-brainer $10MM club option this offseason and would then hit the open market entering his age-30 season in 2016. If he can continue on this trajectory, suffice it to say that he’ll be one of the wealthiest players in baseball history.
  • Former Major Leaguer Jose Cruz Jr. tweeted earlier this week that he saw right-hander Jason Marquis throw a bullpen session for the Reds and Padres (hat tip: Chris Cotillo). Marquis was throwing 88-90 mph, per Cruz, which is impressive given that Marquis is just nine and a half months removed from Tommy John surgery on July 30 of last year. It was reported last September that Marquis didn’t plan to retire after his Tommy John surgery and could sign a minor league deal come April or May.

NL Notes: Reds, Heyward, Gonzalez, Rockies

MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark doesn't expect the Collective Bargaining Agreement to be reopened before its 2016 expiration to address issues with the qualifying offer system, writes Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle. "It’s very difficult to open up a CBA," said Clark. "Suffice it to say, if there are issues during the course of any agreement, we continue to have discussions that may not require the CBA be to opened up, making sure that whatever the concerns are, whatever the issues are, and if they can be discussed in some more formal fashion, so be it, but more often than not, come 2016 when we have an opportunity to sit down is when we’ll do so." Last night, Aaron Steen asked MLBTR readers about the qualifying offer and nearly 47% want to tweak the QO while 25% want to eliminate it entirely.

In National League news and notes on Oscar Sunday:  

  • With the ink barely dry on Homer Bailey's six-year, $105MM contract extension, the Reds will be in the same situation with starters Mat Latos, Mike Leake, and Johnny Cueto next year. Owner Bob Castellini told the Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay the team wants to retain all three. "We’re going to try to sign all these guys," Castellini said. "Whether we can or not, I don’t know. I don’t have a crystal ball."
  • Castellini also told Fay he is not pleased with the media's coverage of the Reds' offseason because it has had an adverse affect on the team's revenues. "That season-ticket number is the most important number we can generate," said Castellini. "We knew we wanted to sign Homer. We knew we were going to make some other commitments. It’s not that we didn’t look. It gets written in such a way – 'Well, the Reds aren’t doing anything' – that really does affect people buying season tickets." Castellini provided Fay with details of the club's revenue generated through ticket sales, sponsorships, and the national TV contract adding neither he nor any of the other principal owners or investors have ever taken money out of the franchise.  
  • Last month, the Braves gave Jason Heyward a two-year, $13.3MM contract. In two years, the perfect storm of baseball's economics, Heyward's age, and actions taken by the Braves will set the 24-year-old up for a huge payday on a likely barren free agent market, according to Mike Petriello of ESPN.com in an Insider-only piece (subscription required).
  • With mixed reviews to date, Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez made his Spring Training debut yesterday. Phillies GM Ruban Amaro Jr. was upbeat about what he saw, reports MLB.com's Todd Zolecki. "He probably threw better with his stuff as far as his velocity and breaking ball since he's been in camp," Amaro said. "I was encouraged that his stuff was better than it had been in his sides. And hopefully it will continue to progress in a positive way." Pitching coach Bob McClure added (as quoted by Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Inquirer), "I saw a very competitive (guy), and that is what I was really hoping for. And he might be one of those guys that’s not the best practice player, but you put him in a game and he competes." Reports surfaced last week Gonzalez could open the season in the minors.
  • Solid pitching will be key to any improvement the Rockies hope to make this season. ESPN's Jerry Crasnick focuses on young starters Jonathan Gray and Eddie Butler while the Denver Post's Troy E. Renck examines the Rockies' adherence to pitch counts to protect their starting rotation and the corresponding reliance on their bullpen, which could be called upon to record 10 or 11 outs every game. 


Reds Notes: Cueto, Volquez

A few notes from the Queen City…

  • John Fay of The Cincinnati Enquirer has the breakdown of Johnny Cueto's new contract. The right-hander will earn $3.4MM in 2011, $5.4MM in 2012, $7.4MM in 2013, and $10MM in 2014. A $10MM club option for 2015 can be bought out for $800K.
  • GM Walt Jocketty told Fay that the team and Edinson Volquez are still talking about a multi-year contract extension, and that he's confident they'll get at least a one-year deal done before an arbitration hearing (Twitter link). We first heard that the two sides were talking about a deal late last week.

Reds, Cueto Sign Four-Year Extension

The Reds and right-handed pitcher Johnny Cueto signed a four-year contract extension with a club option for 2015, the team announced (on Twitter). The deal is worth $27MM, tweets Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com.

Cueto was arbitration-eligible, and he and the Reds were about $900,000 apart on their submitted salary figures, per our Arbitration Tracker. The right-hander was seeking $3.9MM, while Cincinnati offered $3MM.

The deal buys out all three years of Cueto's arbitration eligibility, plus one year of potential free agency. Rumors of the Reds and Cueto having preliminary talks about a long-term extension surfaced in early December but were relatively quiet thereafter, as Cincinnati turned its focus on extending Jay Bruce and buying out Joey Votto's three years or arbitration-eligibility.

It's been a busy and expensive offseason after a resurgent 2010 for the Reds, who've committed a combined $151MM in salaries — the majority of which went to Votto, Bruce and Cueto — tweets Fay. Edinson Volquez remains unsigned after he and the Reds exchanged arbitration figures.

The 24-year-old Cueto posted a 3.64 ERA with 6.7 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 185 2/3 innings last year. He has started at least 30 games for three consecutive seasons and has career marks of 7.3 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and a 4.27 ERA.


Arbitration Figures: Tuesday

Today is the deadline for players and teams to submit arbitration figures. Let's keep track of those figures here, with the latest updates on top. You can track all of the players that avoided arbitration today here.

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Quick Hits: Athletics, Nunez, Rangers, Pavano, Pujols

On this day 15 years ago, Blue Jays skipper John Farrell signed with Mariners as a free agent.  Let's take a look at today's links..


Reds Notes: Webb, Cueto, Votto, Podsednik

Here's the latest from the Queen City, courtesy of The Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay

  • With Arthur Rhodes set to join the Rangers, the Reds now have money to spend elsewhere, including on a shortstop, lefty hitting outfielder, and potentially a rehabbing starting pitcher.
  • Assistant GM Bob Miller told Fay that the Reds have not had any recent conversations with Brandon Webb.
  • Miller also confirmed that there have been no further talks with Johnny Cueto about a long-term extension. Earlier this month we heard that the two sides had some preliminary discussions about a contract.
  • "That's not going to happen quick," said Miller when asked about an extension for NL MVP Joey Votto. The two sides have had some talks, however.
  • Miller confirmed the team's interest in Scott Podsednik.

Reds Have Preliminary Extension Talks With Cueto

The Reds have locked up two players and discussed a potential extension with a third, but GM Walt Jocketty isn't stopping there. He has had preliminary discussions with Johnny Cueto's representatives about a long-term deal, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Like teammate Joey Votto, Cueto is arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason. The 24-year-old posted a 3.64 ERA with 6.7 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 185 2/3 innings last year. He has started at least 30 games for three consecutive seasons and has career marks of 7.3 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and a 4.27 ERA. Over the course of his career, Cueto has induced an equal amount of air and ground outs (40.0% fly ball rate and 40.6% ground ball rate).

If the Reds extend Cueto it wouldn't be surprising to see them commit about $16MM for his three arbitration years, 2011-13. The right-hander is set to hit free agency after the 2013 season.


Baseball Blogs Weigh In: LaRue, Martin, Ortiz, Minaya

On this date four years ago, Trevor Hoffman set a new career saves mark when he retired Ryan Doumit, Jose Bautista, and Freddy Sanchez of the Pirates in order. His 479th save moved him past Lee Smith and into first place on the all-time list, a spot he still holds today with 600 career saves on the nose. Other than Mariano Rivera and the soon-to-retire Billy Wagner, no active closer is within 310 saves of Hoffman's mark.

Here's a collection of links from the last week of the baseball blog world…

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