Johnny Cueto will be a free agent next offseason and has said he won’t negotiate a contract past Opening Day, leading most people to assume that the Reds ace is a goner after this season.
However, general manager Walt Jocketty had a slightly more optimistic viewpoint Thursday during an interview with MLB Network:
With Johnny, we’ll never say “never.” We are going to do everything we can to try and come up with some sort of plan to keep him. I’m not sure we’ll be able to, because the numbers are obviously starting to skyrocket and it’s very tough in our market to continue to retain guys at a high price like that. We’ll continue to work on that and see where it comes out.
When it’s early February and a GM is already going to the “we’re not a big market” quotes regarding an impending free agent that’s a pretty bad sign, although the Reds did hand out a $225 million contract to first baseman Joey Votto recently (and $105 million to Homer Bailey even more recently).
Cueto threw a league-leading 244 innings with a 2.25 ERA and league-high 242 strikeouts last season to finish runner-up in the Cy Young balloting to Clayton Kershaw. He’s under contract for $10 million in 2015 and turns 29 years old next week.
The Angels have placed Andrew Heaney on the 10-day injured list with left shoulder inflammation, the club announced Saturday. The move is retroactive to July 17, though it’s not yet certain that he’ll be cleared to pitch again by the end of the month.
It’s an unfortunate development for the 28-year-old southpaw, who has battled inflammation in his pitching elbow on and off since spring training. In fact, his arm issues date back several years, including the shoulder impingement that put him on the shelf in 2017 and the Tommy John surgery he underwent in 2016. With such a complicated medical history, it makes sense that the Angels would want to proceed with caution as they facilitate the lefty’s eventual return to the mound.
Given his ongoing struggles, Heaney has seen mixed results with the club in 2019. Prior to his recent IL assignment, he pitched to a 1-3 record in nine starts with a 5.09 ERA, 3.7 BB/9, and 10.6 SO/9 through 46 innings. Since the end of June, however, his starts have gotten shorter and shorter; he lasted just 4 1/3 innings in his final outing against the Astros, expending a tremendous 103 pitches and issuing two runs, two walks, and five strikeouts during the team’s eventual 7-2 win.
In a corresponding roster move, the Angels claimed lefty reliever Adalberto Mejía off of waivers from the Twins. Mejía, 26, is expected to be activated ahead of Saturday’s game versus the Mariners. Over 13 appearances with Minnesota, he turned in an 8.80 ERA, 7.0 BB/9, and 8.8 SO/9 in 15 1/3 innings.