Following his final start of the season, Giants right-hander Johnny Cueto wouldn’t tip his hand regarding his opt-out decision when asked by reporters (link via Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area). It seems unfathomable that Cueto will opt out of the remaining $84MM on his deal on the heels of the worst season of his big league career, and Cueto suggested that he’s enjoyed his time as a Giant and believes there’s a winning core in place. Backstop Nick Hundley also told the media that he “loves” San Francisco and his teammates, Pavlovic continues. His declined to elaborate on the opportunity to pursue a larger deal in free agency this winter or a potential starting role but certainly sounded open to a return.
More from the majors’ West divisions:
- Padres general manager A.J. Preller told Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune and other reporters on Monday that upgrading at shortstop and in the rotation will be offseason priorities. The Padres will also “look to tinker with the bullpen,” Preller said. Trading left-handed closer Brad Hand would qualify as much more than tinkering, but Preller didn’t rule out dealing him. “He was similar to a few years ago when we had (Craig) Kimbrel,” Preller said. “We talked to teams about Kimbrel at the trade deadline in ‘15. There were teams that reached out early in that offseason and said, ‘OK, we’re still interested.’ I would expect that to probably be the case, but we’ll see how that plays out.” Despite vast interest, the Padres decided against trading Hand at the deadline in July. The 27-year-old obviously comes with less team control now than he did over the summer, when an acquiring club could have viewed him as an integral piece for a playoff run, but he’s still signed through 2019. Hand made a relative pittance – $1.38MM – in his first year of arbitration eligibility in 2017.
- The Rangers just wrapped up a disappointing campaign, one that ended without a playoff berth for only the third time in the past eight years, but it’s not going to spur an offseason rebuild, according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. Instead, the Rangers will do their best over the winter to return to contention in 2018. Sullivan writes that they’ll focus on bolstering their rotation via free agency and/or trades, perhaps add an outfielder, and decide where to put 41-home run corner infielder/outfielder Joey Gallo.
- One thing the Rangers must do this offseason is trade infielder/outfielder Jurickson Profar, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News argues. Profar, 24, was once among the game’s premier prospects, but injuries and poor performance have defined his time in Texas. The switch-hitting Profar, who has batted an ugly .229/.309/.329 in 718 major league plate appearances, spent most of 2017 at the Triple-A level and was not one of the Rangers’ call-ups when rosters expanded in September. Further, Profar will be out of options next year, making it seem all the more likely that the Rangers will cut ties with him in the coming months.