Diamondbacks ownership sees Johnny Cueto as a “special case” who is worth a franchise-altering investment, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal (links to Twitter). The team’s six-year, $120MM offer to Cueto would’ve been above the D’Backs stated comfort zone of a $15MM-$18MM average annual salary for a pitcher, yet Rosenthal notes that Arizona has been willing to stretch payroll in recent years. The D’Backs gave their largest contract in club history to an unproven rookie in Yasmany Tomas, and they were also prepared to give Masahiro Tanaka a huge contract after posting a bid to negotiate with him in the 2013-14 offseason. Cueto, meanwhile, rejected Arizona’s offer in order to further explore his options. With Jordan Zimmermann now off the market, it’s indeed possible that Cueto could perhaps surpass that offer from the Snakes. Here’s some more from around baseball…
- The Mariners privately acknowledge that Robinson Cano will inevitably be moved from second to first base, according to Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune (Twitter link). The question now may be how many more seasons can Cano remain at the keystone. Cano just turned 33 last month and his defensive metrics (-7.3 UZR/150, minus-9 Defensive Runs Saved) plummeted. Since Mark Trumbo could be traded or non-tendered, the M’s may have an opening at first as early as 2016, though I’d guess the club is probably more likely to give Cano at least one more year at second and obtain a short-term first baseman if Trumbo is indeed moved.
- Byung-ho Park is set to arrive in Minneapolis today to continue negotiating, and perhaps finalize, a contract with the Twins. Park spoke to Korean media (including Yonhap News) before departing, saying “there are some things we need to go over with the club. I hope to be able to return with a positive result….I am approaching (the upcoming contract talks) with a positive mind.” Park also discussed transitioning to MLB, speaking to former teammate Jung Ho Kang and his willingness to be a designated hitter in Minnesota if that’s how the club feels he is best used.
- The reliever market is widely expected to heat up this week, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick explains in a series of tweets. Part of the logjam has been due to the fact that two star closers (Aroldis Chapman and Mark Melancon) are on the trade block, so teams are exploring trade options before looking at free agents. Over a third of league is currently looking for relief pitching help — Crasnick lists the Astros, Athletics, Blue Jays, Braves, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Mets, Nationals, Pirates, Red Sox, Royals and Tigers.
- Several bits of Indians roster speculation are discussed by Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer in his latest reader mailbag. Highlights include Hoynes’ belief that Lonnie Chisenhall will still be with the Tribe next season rather than be traded or non-tendered this winter, doubt that Jay Bruce would be a legitimate Indians trade target and the idea that Wilin Rosario might be of some interest to add pop to Cleveland’s lineup.
- Would a reunion with Bartolo Colon be a good move for the Athletics? Joe Stiglich of CSNBayArea.com looks at the pros and cons Oakland faces in signing the veteran right-hander.