There is one fewer starting pitcher around for teams to covet. Johnny Cueto has signed a 6-year deal worth some $130 million with the Giants. This doesn’t seem to make sense, considering the kind of year he had last year split between the Reds and Royals. You’d think, going from a biblically bad team in Cincinnati to a World Series winner in Kansas City would have transformed Cueto. But he was inconsistent with his new team after pitching well enough with the Reds. He’ll turn 30 right about the time he reports to spring training in Arizona. Giving a pitcher of that age who hasn’t yet had Tommy John surgery a 6-year deal for large money seems questionable at best. Oddly, Cueto could have had $126 million to join the Diamondbacks. He’ll soon find out that gas and everything else costs more in California than anywhere else in the contiguous 48 states, and the Golden State has more taxes he’ll have to pay than Arizona would have.
The Orioles re-signed righty reliever Darren O’Day, shattering the dreams of at least one team, the Mets. O’Day had pitched in Flushing in 2009 and the Mets had fondly hoped he would return there. Instead, he’s back in baseball obscurity in Baltimore where he’s pitched since 2012. He was an All-Star for the Orioles in 2015. He turned 33 just before the last World Series began.
After the signings of Oliver Perez and Shawn Kelly, and after Craig Stammen opted to leave the nation’s capital The Nationals moved to further buttress their bull pen by signing former Giants reliever Yusmero Petit. He turned 31 a month ago. In 1994 he helped Venezuela win the Little League World Series-the first time a team from that country had won in 8 tries. On his way to a World Series ring in 2014, he retired 46 consecutive batters he saw. Not even Harvey Haddix can claim that. nobody comes close. Maybe the Nats know something about Drew Storen’s broken thumb (or his mind set) that we don’t? Oddly, Jonathan Papelbon is technically still a National. I thought the combustible Cajun’s attack on Bryce Harper while TV cameras rolled would earn him a pink slip-and not the kind of pink slip women want for Christmas from the Victoria’s Secret catalog.
Ernesto Frieri signed a minor-league deal with the Phillies. For an all-too-brief period he was a dynamite closer for the Angels. But the last two seasons have been terrible for him with the Angels, Pirates and Rays.
If you watched the NLCS you may recall Trevor Cahill pitching for the Cubs. He’ll be back for 2016.
The Twins signed Wilfredo Tovar away from the Mets. That’s another middle infielder with potential the Flushing 9 can’t bank on in the future.
Mo Vaughn is 48. Yesterday was his college teammate Craig Biggio’s birthday. At Seton Hall, Mo was known as Maurice Vaughn, and in his freshman year he hit more home runs than anybody had in a season at that school. After following him almost game by game in college, I had the good luck to be at his AA debut as the New Britain Red Sox played the Harrisburg Senators in 1989. He made the bigs by 1991 and was an All-Star 3 times. Happy birthday.