Johnny Cueto, RHP, Cincinnati Reds, 29 years old.
2015 stats: 4-5 record, 2.98 ERA, 0.941 WHIP
Johnny Cueto is set to become a free agent at the end of this season, so any team that trades for the right-hander is merely renting him until season’s end. Given those circumstances it is likely that only contenders will be in the mix for Cueto’s services. Members within the Cincinnati organization have indicated that they would like to keep Cueto in a Reds uniform until after the All-Star break. This could lead to complications as possible suitors may decide that they don’t want to wait and would rather pursue other pitchers like Scott Kazmir or Jeff Samardzija. Of course Cueto’s talent is undeniable and there will surely be suitors all the way until the last minute of July 31st. Given his contract status the return will be limited for the Reds, but they should still be able to get a nice prospect or two in return while Cueto helps anchor a contender’s rotation.
Potential suitors: Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros, Texas Rangers, New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays.
Many of the names from the Cole Hamels list carry over here since the same teams in need of pitching will still likely be looking if they can’t secure a deal with Philadelphia. However, the new addition here is the Dodgers; who have been looking for pitching depth ever since Brandon McCarthy went down with an elbow injury. The Dodgers may be looking for one more push to get them over the hump after losing to the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2013 NLCS and 2014 NLDS.
However, Houston is said to be making a pretty strong push for the righty. With both teams having top major-league ready talent in the minors, it could get interesting as the deadline approaches. With the Yankees and Blue Jays both having weak farm systems, they will likely be left behind if it turns into a bidding war between Houston and Los Angeles.