3:17pm: ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that the two sides are making progress on a deal and could have an agreement in place soon (Twitter link).
2:34pm: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Giants and Cueto are discussing a deal that “easily” tops the $120MM figure he rejected from Arizona. The Dodgers and “a couple others” are still in the mix, but the Giants are working the hardest to get something done. The deal being discussed with San Francisco (and others) will “likely” contain an opt-out clause, Heyman adds.
1:48pm: The Cardinals and Dodgers have both “dabbled” in Cueto’s market, tweets Crasnick, but both teams were hesitant to even approach the reported $120-126MM that Cueto rejected, let alone exceed it.
1:24pm: ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that action on Cueto does indeed seem to be picking up (links to Twitter). One source that spoke to Crasnick and knows Cueto’s market well feels that the right-hander could ultimately top the $120-126MM offer he rejected from the D-backs.
San Francisco, of course, was a finalist for the services of Zack Greinke but lost out to a stunning last-minute push by the division-rival Diamondbacks. Since that time, they’ve added Jeff Samardzija on a five-year, $90MM contract, but they’ve reportedly been open to bringing in another starter in addition to that signing. Cueto has already rejected a six-year offer from the D-backs that was reported to be worth $120-126MM in total, which should serve as a barometer of sorts when gauging the type of money it will take to sign him. Of course, it’s not certain that Cueto will sign for more than that figure — his market may have some down a bit, he may simply not have wanted to play with the D-backs, etc. — but it’d be a surprise to see him take substantially less just two weeks after that reported offer.
Cueto, 30 in February, posted a combined 3.44 ERA in 212 innings with the Reds and Royals this past season. His late struggles with Kansas City are well known at this point, as he recorded a 6.49 ERA over his final 51 1/3 innings on his new club. Cueto had mixed results in the playoffs, struggling in two starts but also delivering a pair of masterpieces, including a one-run, complete game victory over the Mets in Game Two of the World Series.
Cueto missed a small amount of time over the summer with a minor elbow injury that never sent him to the disabled list. Regardless, the earlier injury and rocky performance with the Royals has created a fair amount of skepticism surrounding him this offseason, at least in the media. Clearly, with at least one club willing to offer a significant six-year contract, teams aren’t completely scared off by any uncertainties that may exist regarding his right elbow.