The Arizona Diamondbacks are one of the teams interested in signing starting pitcher Johnny Cueto, trying to cash in on his successful postseason and World Series title with the Kansas City Royals.
The Diamondbacks have actually been quite frank about their interest in Cueto, who turned them down last month for an offer of $120 million over six years. Cueto is looking for a deal that pays him at least $140 million over that same length of contract, maybe even hoping for $160 million. Cueto made $10 million a season in 2014 and 2015, traded from the Cincinnati Reds to the Royals midway through last season, which worked out quite well for everyone.
Another bonus in signing Cueto for the Diamondbacks is that it wouldn’t cost them a draft pick. The Diamondbacks will pick 13th in next year’s draft, which is just outside the range of protected picks. If the team signed another starter who received a qualifying offer it would have to surrender that pick. The Diamondbacks finished third in the NL West last season with a 79-83 record. They’ve missed the playoffs four years in a row.
Cueto, 29, didn’t have the best of regular seasons with the Royals (4.76 ERA) but redeemed himself in the playoffs and especially the World Series, delivering a complete game in game 2, allowing just two hits in one run to get the Royals closer to their second championship in franchise history. There are concerns about his ability away from home and without too much rest (had 8 days of rest before that game), but overall, Cueto showed he’s someone teams with big aspirations would want on their roster.