Johnny Cueto Rumors
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.
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.
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.
Rumor king Ken Rosenthal has the latest at FOXSports.com.
- 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.
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.
- 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 MLB.com's Jim Molony who expected Blanton to be the A's Opening Day starter.
UPDATE, 1-10-08 at 5:38pm: Churchill has further updated his right-hand sidebar referencing the Reds possibility. He says the O's want Bailey, Votto, Cueto, and Edwin Encarnacion. This is particularly lopsided, and pushing Melvin Mora back to Cincy wouldn't make it any less so. Mora may have negative value at this point. Meanwhile John Fay says nothing new has happened on the Reds/Bedard front.
UPDATE, 1-09-08 at 9:07pm: Rosenthal checks in with an update. If the Mariners would give up Chris Tillman, they could have a done deal. Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein ranks the 19 year-old righty as Seattle's second best prospect, giving him a number two starter ceiling. Rosenthal confirms that Jones is the centerpiece, while George Sherrill and Carlos Triunfel are in play.
Meanwhile, Jason Churchill of Prospect Insider says on the right-hand sidebar of this page that the Reds might step up their offer in an attempt to make a late play. He thinks they could give up Homer Bailey, Joey Votto, Johnny Cueto, and a fourth player, which would be absurd.
FROM 1-09-08 at 9:03am:
On Tuesday, both Ken Rosenthal and Jason Churchill carefully stated that the Orioles and Mariners were making progress on an Erik Bedard trade. The deal would center around Adam Jones but include other good young players as well. The Reds and Indians were named as other lingering Bedard suitors.
Larry Stone of the Seattle Times checked in on the Bedard situation today. His MLB source agreed that talks between the Mariners and Orioles have heated up. Andy MacPhail, however, would not use the words "heating up." Stone goes on to mention that the Mets "could be players" for Bedard in addition to the Ohio teams. Contrary to earlier reports, Stone was able to extract a quote from Ms GM Bill Bavasi that indicated Brandon Morrow was not off limits.
John Hickey admits that the rumors won't die but doesn't think the Mariners have made any actual progress on a deal. He agrees that Morrow seems a bit more available than he did before. Hickey suggests Josh Fogg could be a backup plan to Bedard for Seattle, noting that Fogg likes the idea of pitching in Safeco. The Reds are also believed to have interest in Fogg.
John Fay writes of the Reds' continued search for a starting pitcher. That's Wayne Krivsky's focus; his main limitation is that Jay Bruce is untouchable.
The Reds couldn't get Dan Haren because they wouldn't give up young starter Johnny Cueto. The focus remains on Erik Bedard; the Reds seem willing to offer Homer Bailey as a starting point. Fay indicates that the Dodgers lead for Bedard, which is odd given their current six-deep rotation.
I have a feeling the hot stove is going to turn to Joe Blanton now. The Reds may be in the thick of it, especially if they'd give up Bailey for him. What do you think, would that be a wise move?