-- The San Francisco Giants have reached an agreement on a six-year deal with right-hander Johnny Cueto, the top starter left on the MLB free agent market this winter, sources told ESPN. The deal is pending a physical, sources said.
The Giants, who previously signed free agent Jeff Samardzija to a five-year, $90 million contract in early December, are pushing to add Cueto to the mix and strengthen a rotation that also includes Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain and Jake Peavy, sources said.
Cueto, 29, is 96-70 with a 3.30 ERA and one All-Star appearance over parts of eight seasons with the Cincinnati Reds and Kansas City Royals. The Royals acquired him from the Reds in a July non-waiver deadline trade, and Cueto recovered from a disappointing regular season in Kansas City (4-7 with a 4.76 ERA in 13 starts) to make a significant contribution to the Royals' World Series run.
Cueto turned down a reported six-year, $120-126 million offer in November from the Arizona Diamondbacks, who quickly shifted course and signed marquee right-hander Zack Greinke to a six-year, $206.5 million contract. The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals were among the clubs that expressed interest in Cueto, but the momentum gradually appeared to shift toward San Francisco in recent days.
One source familiar with Cueto's talks said the pitcher is likely to "do better'' in his free-agent deal than the six-year offer that he spurned from Arizona.
Big-league clubs have gone on a rampage in spending on free-agent pitchers this offseason. With David Price (Boston), Greinke and Jordan Zimmermann (Detroit) leading the way, teams have already invested about $760 million in starters this winter.