To say that Johnny Cueto's market has diminished is an understatement.
Prior to being traded from the Cincinnati Reds to the Kansas City Royals, people were comparing Cueto to Price and Greinke, in regards to the type of contract he would be commanding when he hit the free agent market. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
After being traded to the Royals at the July 31st Trade Deadline, in 13 starts, Cueto went 4-7, with a 4.76 ERA and 56 strikeouts in 81.1 innings of work. Not the best numbers. However, to be fair, Cueto had a masterful game against the Mets in the World Series, pitching a complete game and allowing only 1 earned run on 2 hits.
With reports surfacing early in the Winter Meetings that suggested Cueto turned down a a 6-year, $120 million deal from the Arizona Diamondbacks, it looks like the talented righty could be sticking this thing out for the long haul.
With teams fascinated by big name position players like Alex Gordon and Jason Hayward, it would not surprise me if Johnny Cueto was still available come January, similar to Max Scherzer, who's deal was not officially announced by the Nationals until January 21. Coupled with weight issues and injury concerns, Cueto could be looking for the right fit to revitalize his career.
But where could he land when it is all said and done?
DISCLAIMER: If you are easily spooked or don't like to have fun, stop reading now. I'm about to engage in some fantasy talk.
The answer may surprise you, but Boston is still a possible destination.
Back in August, Cueto, who is very friendly with Red Sox position-less slugger Hanley Ramirez, spoke to reporters and said he would be very open to signing with Boston. He even went as far to say that he would wait to hear from Boston before he made a final decision.
Now, with the current Red Sox payroll north of $200 million, some serious salary cap has to be shed to even entertain the idea of bringing on another $20 million AAV player. However, if the Red Sox can dump Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval or perhaps even Rick Porcello, the opportunity could arise to bring on Johnny Cueto on a shorter, "prove it" type of deal. (5-years, $110-$120 million suggested on MLB Network)
As a #2 behind David Price, Johnny Cueto could flourish in his new role in Boston. While the Red Sox's proverbial Christmas List appears to have already been successfully answered, this team could still use a front-line starter. If the price is right, why not Cueto?
By Pete Packowski