Reds “are prepared to trade” Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake

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Not exactly shocking news, but Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that the Reds “are prepared to trade” both Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake.

That’s been the assumption with both pitchers headed to free agency after the season and it’s why I included Cueto and Leake in my article earlier this week about the best starting pitchers likely to be available at the trade deadline.

Cueto is a legit ace and one of the truly elite starters in all of baseball, whereas Leake is a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter. It’s possible Cincinnati could look to maximize their return by packaging both pitchers in the same trade, trying to entice a contending into giving up a top-50 prospect as part of the haul for a pair of two-month rentals.

No word yet on what the Reds plan to do with All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman, who unlike Cueto and Leake is also under contract for 2016.

Michael Kopech has opted out of the 2020 season

Kopech has opted out
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Michael Kopech has opted out of the 2020 season. The White Sox starter informed the team of his decision today, and the team issued a press release to that affect a few minutes ago.

The statement from general manager Rick Hahn. said “we recognize that reaching this decision is incredibly difficult for any competitive athlete, and our organization is understanding and supportive. We will work with Michael to assure his development continues throughout 2020, and we look forward to welcoming him back into our clubhouse for the 2021 season.”

Kopech, 24, has only four big league starts under his belt, all coming in late August and early September of 2018, but after a strong spring training he was likely to make Chicago’s rotation at some point in the 2020 season after sitting out all of 2019 following Tommy John surgery. Kopech was among the players sent to Chicago from the Red Sox in the Chris Sale trade back in December 2016. Others involved in the deal included Yoán Moncada, Victor Diaz, and Luis Alexander Basabe.

Now, however, Kopech has opted out.