Johnny Cueto

Johnny Cueto wouldn't mind calling Fenway Park his future home

Rob Bradford
August 20, 2015 - 5:22 pm

It didn't take long for the welcome wagon to arrive. Moments after stepping on the Fenway Park field for the first time, Johnny Cueto was greeted by Red Sox outfielder Hanley Ramirez, who had just finished his workout on the same side of the field as the visitors' dugout. After some joking with Cueto and a few of his Royals teammates, Ramirez offered up his services to translate for the starting pitching. A preview of 2016? It's something that the ace has at least thought about. "It depends," said Cueto on if he would sign with the Red Sox after this season. "Because I'm a free agent, and I'm just going to pick the best choice to go. The main thing -- I would like to come here because it's a championship-caliber team." The 29-year-old Cueto has totaled a 2.46 ERA in a combined 23 starts with Cincinnati and Kansas City this season, with the righty entering his first Fenway Park start Friday night with a 1.80 ERA in four starts as a Royal. For the Royals, the non-waiver trade deadline deal that sent for pitcher Brandon Finnegan and two minor leaguers to the Reds has worked out. It was a trade, as it turned out, Cueto actually thought at one time might land him in Boston. "Yeah, that's what I think," he said when he believed the Red Sox might be a landing spot when trade rumors started swirling prior to this season. "I think, 'I'll wait for Boston.'" Despite the comparisons to Red Sox legends Luis Tiant and Pedro Martinez (whom Cueto met at the last World Baseball Classic), prior to the trade rumblings, the idea of calling Fenway his home wasn't at the forefront of his mind. But now, with Cueto joining the likes of David Price at the top of the free agent pitching pile, the idea of the Dominican native re-entering the Red Sox conversations are about to heat up. "I never thought in my career to play here, but people like it," he said. "This is baseball and anything can happen." Will Ramirez be his chief recruiter? "It'€™s not my job to do that, but he'€™s a good pitcher," the outfielder said. "He'€™s my friend."