MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes spoke with agent Bryce Dixon about Nelson Cruz’s market yesterday at the Winter Meetings, and Tim also got an update on another Dixon client, Johnny Cueto. It isn’t yet clear when the Giants right-hander will be back on the mound in the wake of Tommy John surgery last August, though Dixon is optimistic about both a full recovery for Cueto and potentially a return late this season. Dixon’s full comments:
“The rehab is progressing on schedule. He says his arm feels great, he’s working out a ton. At the earliest, he could throw in the minors like middle/end of August, maybe see some Major League action in September. But it’s a wait-and-see, once he starts throwing, how it reacts. But the good news is he’s told me that his arm feels great. He doesn’t have any pain. The pain that he felt is all gone. The way he’s working out right now, I believe that when he comes back and he’s back in top form – obviously it’s going to take him a little bit of time to get back to that form – I think he’ll be as good if not better. If he can get back to how his arm felt prior, he’s such a different guy mentally than he was when he first came up when he was throwing so hard, that he’s got so many more tricks in the bag than he had back then, that I think about it, I’m like man, if he comes back 100% and is throwing like he did earlier in his career, wow, he could come back and be really, really special. Even more special than he had been before the surgery.”
Here’s more on some notable hurlers….
- Yusei Kikuchi will meet with interested teams later this month in Los Angeles, Kikuchi’s agent Scott Boras told reporters (including Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle) today. The Japanese left-hander has received interest from several teams but it will still be a matter of weeks before he signs with a Major League team. Kikuchi’s 30-day posting window opened on December 4, so there isn’t any rush towards a deal.
- The Rangers have yet to check in on Derek Holland, according to MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan (via Twitter). The club is known to be on the hunt for relatively inexpensive pitching, and the Rangers have at least internally discussed the possibility of trying to lure Holland for another stint in Texas. Sullivan notes, however, that Holland’s preference would be to remain with the Giants or stay in the National League.
- The Phillies aren’t willing to go beyond a two-year deal for J.A. Happ and expect the left-hander to sign with another team, The Athletic’s Matt Gelb tweets. Several teams have offered Happ two-year contracts, though the latest reports have the veteran southpaw closing in on a three-year agreement to remain with the Yankees.
- Before the Mariners dealt Jean Segura to the Phillies for Carlos Santana and J.P. Crawford, Seattle also tried to obtain pitching prospect Spencer Howard in the trade, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. The 22-year-old Howard was a second-round pick for the Phillies in the 2017 draft, and he has posted big strikeout numbers over his first two professional seasons. Salibury figures other teams will also ask, or have already asked, about Howard’s availability, though the Phils surely aren’t too eager to part with such an intriguing young arm. There is a fair amount of other pitching depth in Philadelphia’s system, however, to potentially make Howard somewhat expendable at the right price. MLB.com ranks Howard a fairly modest 18th in their ranking of the top 30 Phillies prospects, with seven other pitchers ahead of Howard on the list.