Johnny Cueto, Aroldis Chapman drawing trade interest
Two of the top arms in the NL last season might be available for the right price.
The Reds might be willing to part with Cueto and Chapman, two of the top pitchers in the National League in 2014, as a means of cutting payroll, notes Rosenthal. Cincinnati has shelled out in excess of $100 million in each of the last two seasons and is projected to have a payroll of more than $125 million in 2015, per Baseball-Reference. The club reportedly wants to shed $17 million. Cueto and Chapman will make around $18 million combined next season.
Cueto, a free agent after 2015, led the NL in innings pitched and strikeouts while posting a 2.25 ERA/160 ERA+ last season. The 28-year-old right-hander has missed roughly 30 starts over the past four seasons but has been one of the most effective pitchers in the game when healthy. He owns a 2.48 ERA/155 ERA+ during that span.
Chapman overcame a scary injury in spring training to have perhaps his best season in the big leagues in 2014. The 26-year-old lefty struck out 106 batters and allowed just 21 hits in 54 innings. Chapman has whiffed 15.3 batters per nine innings since arriving in the majors in 2010.
The Reds have tried to direct trade conversations toward Mike Leake, Mat Latos and Alfredo Simon, according to Rosenthal. But there’s no doubt that Cueto and Chapman would give the Reds the best possible return, even if parting with Leake and Latos would save a similar amount of money.