The Los Angeles Dodgers obviously have quite a bit running on Zack Greinke’s decision to either stay with the team he’s pitched at probably the most consistently high level in his career or depart for greener pastures elsewhere — pun intended.
It’s been widely reported he’ll wind up wherever he gets the largest offer from, which makes sense.
So, the Dodgers have to keep their options open which seems like they’re doing with maintaining some level of interest in Johnny Cueto. ESPN’s Jason Schoenfield considers the Dodgers the fourth most likely destination for the long-time Cincinnati Red-turned-Kansas-City-Royal.
First, Schoenfield talks about the factors going into signing Cueto, who likely expects a higher-paying deal than Jordan Zimmerman’s contract with the Detroit Tigers.
But is it possible that’s the best offer Cueto receives? Even though only Clayton Kershaw has a better ERA among starting pitchers since 2011, Cueto’s free agency comes with a couple of red flags: his struggles with the Royals after coming over from the Reds (he posted a 4.76 ERA in 13 starts); and a tender elbow that twice caused the Reds to give him extra rest between starts before trading him (he went from May 19 to June 2 without pitching, which was the longest layoff). While an MRI in May revealed no structural damage to his elbow, the medical records will certainly be a huge factor in Cueto’s next contract.
Then, Schoenfield sums up the Dodgers’ interest in Cueto, which doesn’t seem all that high at the moment, based on the following quote:
Cueto would be more of a backup option if Greinke signs elsewhere.
This isn’ to say the Dodgers aren’t in contact with Cueto(though we haven’t heard too much on that front, either), only that Greinke remains a much higher priority — as he should be.
For everyone involved, a sports offseason is all about keeping all options open. This goes for both players and teams, and the Cueto situation sounds a lot like the Dodgers keeping theirs open in case Greinke bolts.