Time Running Out for Cincinnati Reds to Sign Johnny Cueto


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If the Cincinnati Reds hope to contend in 2015, they will need another knockout performance by ace Johnny Cueto, a development which could put them in a quandary come the trade deadline in July. The better Cueto performs, the higher his trade value, but then  it will be harder to convince fans that trading him is the right thing to do. The one thing we know about the would-be Cy Young winner is that he will almost surely open 2016 with another team, making 2015 a de facto Cueto farewell tour on the Riverfront.

As Jeff Todd at MLB Trade Rumors reported, general manager Walt Jocketty  confirmed yesterday that the Reds have not made any progress toward signing Cueto to an extension.  The GM said that, while the two sides have talked some, nothing is imminent in terms of a deal and, as usual, Jocketty lamented escalating salaries.

This is all doom and gloom for fans hoping that Cueto will stick around past July.

Cueto has made it clear on several occasions that he will not negotiate beyond Opening Day, and the clock is ticking, ticking, ticking toward April.  Such a stance by a player and his agent is usually code for “we’re going to wring as much cash out of the free agent market as possible next season,” anyway, so unless the Reds come the table in the next two weeks with what Cueto considers market value for 2016, it’s game over.

What will the market value for frontline starting be in 2016?

Well you can start with Jon Lester’s contract and then tack on some years and/or dollars for differences in talent and age.  If Cueto has another big season in 2015, the Max Scherzer deal  will be a more likely starting point for negotiations.  Should Cueto surpass his 2014 numbers and win the Cy Young, he could be looking at $35 million per season over six or seven years.

Can the Reds pony up that kind of dough, especially right now?

Sure, why not?  The best part about that kind of contract is that it would further decimate the Reds’ flexibility and force them to fill in their roster with unlikely candidates.

Coming soon, open tryouts after every Reds home games!

Next: Cincinnati Reds Prospect Profile: OF Aristides Aquino


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