Johnny Cueto is reportedly looking for Jon Lester money. (Photo courtesy Instagram)

Looks like Johnny Cueto isn't settling for Jordan Zimmermann deal

Rob Bradford
November 30, 2015 - 8:10 am
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With Jordan Zimmermann off the board thanks to a five-year, $110 million deal with the Tigers, the free agent candidates who could be viewed as potential aces have been pared to David Price, Zack Greinke and Johnny Cueto. Even though the consensus is that Cueto would be a notch below the other two, that doesn't mean he's going to come cheap. According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, Cueto is looking for the kind of payday Jon Lester reeled in last offseason when he inked his six-year, $155 million deal with the Cubs. Cueto has already reportedly rebuffed a six-year, $120 million offer from the Diamondbacks (per MLB.com). One of the selling points for a team interested in acquiring Cueto is that he would not cost a draft pick, having not been eligible to receive a qualifying offer due to his midseason trade. According to FoxSports.com, such a dynamic was a factor for the Diamondbacks, who own the third-most valuable non-protected pick (13) in next June's draft. While organizational philosophies don't always necessarily line up in terms of valuing draft picks, Arizona's reluctance to part with No. 13 is notable considering the Red Sox own No. 12. The highest pick ever surrendered for a free agent signing since the qualifying offer system went into place was last year, when San Diego forfeited No. 13 to lock up James Shields. (Price would not cost a team a draft pick, while Greinke would.) Prior to joining Kansas City in July, Cueto was viewed neck-and-neck with Price as the top free agent-to-be starter. But rumors of an elbow issue, coupled with a 4-7 mark and 4.76 ERA in 13 starts with the Royals, seemingly diminished the 29-year-old's value. Cueto did say during an August visit to Fenway Park, he liked the idea of joining the Red Sox. "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."

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