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Johnny Cueto turned down a six-year, $120 million contract offer from the Diamondbacks this past weekend. Apparently, the D-Backs are still interested in attempting to sign Cueto, but the story is that his value is now higher because of Jordan Zimmermann's $110 million deal that will pay him $22 million annually. If they actually believe as much, then this mostly goes to show you that the D-Backs aren't quite sure what they're doing in this end of the free agent pool: Cueto was always going to make more money than Jordan Zimmermann, even before Zimmermann's down 2015. All his signing did was reemphasize how much the D-Backs' offer looks like an opening one rather than a final.
The most recent report is that Cueto is looking for $140 million to $160 million, which sounds about right. His 2015 had a rough go of things as he adjusted to life on the Royals, but we're still talking about a pitcher who won't turn 30 until spring training of next year and has a 2.71 ERA overall since 2011, despite most of his home games coming in a hitter's park. In reality, he should probably be worth more, but he's in a market that also has Zack Greinke and David Price in it: there are only so many teams willing to spend the kind of money it takes to get a front-line starter through free agency each winter, and Cueto's injury history and inconsistency over the last two months have him pegged as the third of three aces.
Whether that's fair doesn't matter so much, and he's still going to get paid even if he's viewed through that lens. He's going to get more than what the Diamondbacks are offering, though. Will the D-Backs increase their offer? It seems unlikely they'll do so in a meaningful fashion, considering their history of spending -- or rather, of not spending, as just one payroll in the last decade topped $100 million. The Red Sox, Dodgers, Cubs and Giants have also given Cueto a call, and all of them have more money to spend than Arizona. Zimmermann or no, there was no reason for Cueto to accept the $120 million offer he was submitted. The deal he eventually gets will prove as much.
- The Marlins are considering Barry Bonds for their hitting coach, and they should absolutely hire him.
- Here are eight young players to watch during the winter meetings next week, as they could be on the move in trades.
- The Red Sox aren't settling for just adding Craig Kimbrel, and are one of many teams still actively searching for relief help prior to the start of the meetings.
- The Tigers are spending $110 million on Jordan Zimmermann because they don't have a choice: they've already invested so much in high-priced free agents that win-now is the only option.
- Will it work, though? Are the Tigers set up to compete in 2016?
- The Rockies are talking to the Mariners about Mark Trumbo, which could be a lot of fun for all involved parties.
- The Cubs seem to have zeroed in on David Price as the only free agent starter they have a real shot at, but they aren't necessarily prepared to go all out for an arm in a market that also has Jason Heyward in it.
- If you're wondering who has asked the Braves about trading for Shelby Miller, the answer is "almost everyone."