The trade market for Cincinnati Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto continues to heat up, as the Houston Astros, Toronto Blue Jays, and Kansas City Royals have been the most aggressive in their attempts to acquire him, reports USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.
CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman reported that Cueto is Houston’s top target should they decide to add players before the July 31 trading deadline.
Kansas City has the best record in the American League, while Houston is just half-a-game behind the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West. Toronto is 4 1/2 games back in the AL East.
With a 39–47 record at the All-Star break, Cincinnati is 5 1/2 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Central and 7 1/2 games out of a Wild Card spot.
There is speculation that the Reds could be headed for a fire sale, with pitchers Mike Leake, Aroldis Chapman and outfielders Jay Bruce and Marlon Byrd being named as prime candidates to be dealt, according to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick.
Cueto, 29, is 6–6 with 2.73 ERA with 113 strikeouts in 118 2/3 innings this season. He is in the final season of a four-year, $27 million contract.
In his last start on Sunday against the Miami Marlins, Cueto threw a tantrum after getting tagged for five runs in five innings and being lifted for a pinch hitter in the sixth inning. The Reds ended up losing 8–1 and held a 30-minute–closed-door meeting after the game.
Reds manager Bryan Price told ESPN.com that this year has been challenging and that he understands the criticism coming his way.
"I still feel like I am the right guy [for the job] here. I just feel like I have an understanding of what we need to do to turn the corner and to be the type of team and organization we aspire to be,” he said.
- Scooby Axson