Johnny Cueto Rumors

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…

If you have a suggestion for this feature, Mike can be reached here.

Reds Ink Cueto, Ramon Ramirez

According to the Associated Press, via Yahoo! Sports, the Reds have inked pre-arbitration pitchers Johnny Cueto and Ramon Ramirez to one-year deals.

The contracts are likely in the $450K-$550K range.  Cueto, 23, went 9-14 with a 4.81 ERA in 31 starts last season.  The 26-year-old Ramirez spent most of ’08 in the minors.  He went 1-1 with a 2.67 ERA in four starts and a relief appearance for the Reds.

Reds Still Looking At Baldelli, Hairston Jr.

The Cincinnati Reds remain interested in free agents Rocco Baldelli and Jerry Hairston Jr.,’s Mark Sheldon reports.

Reds general manager Walt Jocketty told Sheldon that he has talked with their agent, Casey Close, during the weekend.

Jocketty said that he expects something to happen this week with regard to Hairston Jr.

The Reds have had no talks with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Andruw Jones and appear not to be interested, Sheldon notes.

The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Fay also spoke with Jocketty. In addition to the Reds’ stance on Baldelli, Hairston Jr. and Jones, Fay notes that the Reds won’t be trading first baseman Joey Votto.

Jocketty also told Fay that Votto (Canada), Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto (Dominican Republic) might play in the World Baseball Classic.

Jeremy Hermida Rumors

7:12pm:’s Joe Frisaro says Mariners catcher Rob Johnson and Rangers catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia were discussed in these Hermida talks, but no match was found.

6:31pm: Baker says the Marlins wanted catching prospect Adam Moore from the Ms in a Hermida deal.  Baseball America ranks Moore as the Mariners’ sixth best prospect.  They say he looks like a future big league starting catcher; he’ll start ’09 at Triple A.

5:31pm: Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald says the Ms and Rangers initiated the Hermida talks, and they didn’t get far.

4:44pm: Geoff Baker says the Marlins offered Hermida to the Mariners and Rangers for catching.

12:34pm: Rays Index found a note from’s T.R. Sullivan on Monday – the Rays like Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz.

12:26pm: Berardino has an update.  He says the Marlins proposed trading Hermida to the Rays for two pitchers, likely among Jeff Niemann, Wade Davis, Jeremy Hellickson, and Mitch Talbot.  The Rays rejected the offer and it’s unlikely to be revisited.

Berardino now says the Reds have yet to inquire on Hermida.

12:04pm: Mike Berardino of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel discusses Jeremy Hermida trade possibilities in a blog post today (hat tip, Rays Index).  He says the Reds have definitely shown interest, and also discusses the Rays.  Berardino’s sources believe Micah Owings could be had, but not Johnny Cueto.  In the case of the Rays it’d apparently take Andy Sonnanstine rather than Edwin Jackson.

By the way, the Marlins have talked about the possibility of moving Hermida to left field if they keep him.  Hermida has been a slightly above-average right fielder according to the plus/minus system.

Jocketty Names Five Untouchable Reds

Bob Hunter of the Columbus Dispatch relays a Walt Jocketty radio show appearance.  Jocketty reportedly named five untouchable Reds players: Jay Bruce, Joey Votto, Edinson Volquez, Johnny Cueto, and Edwin Encarnacion.  Hunter is surprised to see Encarnacion labeled off-limits.  The 25 year-old third baseman has a career line of .268/.344/.450 in 396 games.  With several .900+ OPS months on his resume, EE has shown flashes of star potential offensively.

Veterans Francisco Cordero, Aaron Harang, Bronson Arroyo, and Brandon Phillips apparently did not make the list.  Only Arroyo has been mentioned in trade rumors this year; the rest seem unlikely to go anywhere.  But it should be noted that Jocketty wasn’t with the organization when the Cordero, Harang, and Arroyo contracts were signed and might be more willing to move them.

Odds and Ends: Braun, Cueto, Pelfrey

An assortment of links…

  • Ryan Braun‘s agent is in town to talk about extension scenarios with the Brewers.  Perhaps the Brewers could get him for slightly more than the $30MM Troy Tulowitzki received.  As Tom Haudricourt writes, a Prince Fielder extension seems less likely.
  • The Blue Jays once offered Frank Catalanotto for Johnny Cueto, when Wayne Krivsky was new on the job.  Nice try, J.P.
  • Buster Olney believes tonight’s start by Mike Pelfrey might determine the likelihood of the Mets pursuing outside pitching help.  Claudio Vargas remains unsigned.

Odds and Ends: Signing Johnny Cueto

Cincinnati’s top three prospects garnered so much attention this spring that Johnny Cueto‘s dominant debut on Thursday caught even some well-informed baseball watchers by surprise. The 22-year old Dominican, who began last year in Single A, seemed to explode upon the major leagues as Athena did from the head of Zeus: fully formed, and from a very unexpected place.

If you’re a GM, just how do you get your mitts on a talent like Cueto’s? Courtesy of Reds Insider, we have a peek at the story of the scouting and signing of the Reds rookie (is it still too soon to call him a "phenom"?). Cincinnati’s then-director of international operations, Johnny Almaraz, squeezed in an early-morning look at Cueto before his flight out of the Dominican Republic. Liking what he saw, he signed the 18-year old righty for $3.5K. (For contrast, the following year the Mets signed 16-year old Fernando Martinez for $1.4MM. That’s quite a differential.)

The full story, by John Fay, will appear in tomorrow’s Cincinnati Enquirer.

Sarah Green writes for the Boston Metro and She can be reached here.

Rosenthal’s Latest: Reed, Aardsma, Cueto

Rumor king Ken Rosenthal has the latest at

  • Looks like the Padres will give near-regular playing time to Jody Gerut, at least until Jim Edmonds returns.  If Gerut performs, Kevin Towers may be able to stop his outfielder search.  Still, Rosenthal notes the Padres’ interest in Seattle’s Jeremy Reed.  Reed has two options left, by the way.
  • Rosenthal names three Boston players who are out of options and probably available for little: David Aardsma, Bryan Corey, and Kyle Snyder.  The O’s are known to be eyeing Corey.  You can check out our running out of options list here.
  • The A’s wanted spring sensation/top pitching prospect Johnny Cueto from the Reds for Joe Blanton – no deal.

Blanton May Be Traded

9:14pm: Fay suggests the A’s would want Homer Bailey or Johnny Cueto, Joey Votto, and a third player for Blanton.

1:32pm: Paul Daugherty and John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer report that the Reds and Dodgers are talking to the A’s about Blanton.  Seems to be a disagreement about whether the Dodgers are in on this.

10:31am: Check out this new Ken Rosenthal video (hat tip to MetsBlog).  The video is all about Joe Blanton.

  • One Rosenthal source suggests a 50/50 chance Blanton is traded (presumably before the season starts).
  • Two teams are showing significant interest.  Rosenthal believes the Reds are one, and the Twins or Rays could be another.  He rules out the Dodgers, Yankees, Rockies, and Indians.  The Reds have had preliminary discussions for Blanton already.  How about the Phillies?  They came calling in July.
  • Rosenthal notes that the bounty for Blanton will be less than that of Dan Haren, because Blanton is slightly more expensive and an inferior pitcher.
  • On January 14th, an A’s source suggested to’s Jim Molony who expected Blanton to be the A’s Opening Day starter.