The market for Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Johnny Cueto is beginning to heat up, as the Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox are “all-in on” Cueto, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
It’s an interesting report, since two of the biggest reported suitors for Cueto – the Kansas City Royals and Toronto Blue Jays – are not mentioned.
Cueto, 29, is scheduled to pitch today in what very well could be the biggest start of his career. Even though he has been shaky of late, he still owns a 6-6 record to go along with a solid 2.79 ERA and 115/28 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
It’s surprising to see the Tigers named in this report, since there has been talk about the team becoming sellers, not buyers at the deadline. Adding Cueto, who is a free agent at the end of the year, to a rotation that includes David Price, who’s also a free agent after this season, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense long-term, but it would give them an extra boost as they try to get back into playoff contention.
In addition to Cueto, the Yankees have asked the Philadelphia Phillies about their ace, Cole Hamels, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi of FoxSports.com. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told Rosenthal that the team has conversations with clubs that are willing to sell so they can see “what they’re willing to sell and what their price tags are,” so we shouldn’t make too much of their reported interest in Cueto and Hamels quite yet, though it is a situation to keep an eye on.
Like the Yankees, the Red Sox have been connected to Hamels. As many of my Twitter followers wisely noted, acquiring either Hamels would give the Red Sox a steady presence at the top-of-the-rotation for the next couple years. As for Cueto, given how he is a free agent at the end of the year, a trade for him wouldn’t make very much sense.
It is the furthest thing from surprising to see that the Dodgers are “all-in” on Cueto, as they appear to be very serious about adding another elite pitcher. In addition to Hamels and Cueto, the Dodgers have been connected to both David Price of the Tigers and Yovani Gallardo of the Texas Rangers.
Even after acquiring Scott Kazmir, it looks like the Astros are going for the big fish on the trade market. It’s unclear who they’d be willing to give up, but adding Cueto to an already very good rotation would make the Astros a clear favorite to represent the American League in the World Series.
Follow Robert Murray on Twitter @RobertMurrayBBE