Bryce Dixon, Johnny Cueto’s agent, tells ESPNdeportes.com’s Enrique Rojas that it was an easy call for his client to reject the six-year, $120MM contract recently offered to him by the Diamondbacks. “It was a low offer for the market,” Dixon said. “We didn’t have to think hard to reject that offer. Arizona wanted to do something fast, but we didn’t want to take something below market value for a No. 1 starter, and with the recent events, I think that time gave us the reason.” Indeed, Cueto now stands as the top arm on the market after the last week’s flurry of free agent pitching signings, and Dixon has enough leverage that he and Cueto don’t need to rush the decision. “I don’t have a specific timetable….We have some offers and we will have several meetings in Nashville, but right now I could not tell if Cueto will have a team after the conclusion of the meetings. We have plenty of time until the beginning of the season,” Dixon said.
Here’s more from around baseball, as the Winter Meetings news avalanche has already begun…
- During a conference call with media (including MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro) on Thursday, Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill denied that the team was shopping either Jose Fernandez or Marcell Ozuna. Many reports have suggested that the Fish are unlikely and not really willing to deal Fernandez in absence of a stunning offer, though Ozuna has been one of the more openly talked-about trade candidates of the offseason. “Contrary to some of the myriad of rumors out there, we are not actively shopping [Ozuna],” Hill said. “Clubs are coming after him because he’s a talented player….When someone calls, we listen to see if it is something that makes sense, both in the short-term and the long-term.” While Hill could be engaging in some gamesmanship here, it’s also possible he’s being truthful, and that interest in Ozuna has been so heavy that the Marlins actually haven’t needed to make any calls about him themselves.
- The Royals haven’t abandoned the idea of re-signing Alex Gordon since they’re waiting on the outfield market to become more defined, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets.
- First baseman Dae-ho Lee is on his way to the Winter Meetings, the Korean slugger told media (including Jeeho Yoo of Yonhap News) before departing from Incheon to Nashville. Lee’s agent has informed him that “four to five teams are showing interest” in his services, and if possible, he’d like to sign with “a championship-caliber team” that can offer him regular playing time. Lee has put up big power numbers over career in KBO and NPB, though he is coming to North American at a rather advanced age (33) for a first-time player. In opting out of his contract with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, Lee walked away from 600 million yen (or roughly $4.9MM) for the 2016 season, Yoo notes on Twitter.
- Yoo’s piece also notes that Lee is represented by both the Seoul-based Montis Sports Management Group and the MVP Sports Group.
- Chris Sale’s contract is often cited as one of the most team-friendly in the sport, and though it’s been even more dwarfed by this winter’s giant pitcher contracts, the White Sox ace tells MLB.com’s Scott Merkin that he has no regrets about his early-career extension. “I knew exactly what I was getting into at the time I was getting into it, and I could not have asked for anything more,” Sale said, also noting that he thinks “to just keep playing the game as a kid and not have to worry about the business side, I think it has done me a lot of good.” Sale’s extension guaranteed him $32.5MM from 2013-17, and Chicago has club options on the left-hander for 2018 and 2019 that could add another $26MM to the deal.