Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

johnny cueto righty redsWe could soon get answers to important offseason questions like “where is Johnny Cueto going to sign?,” “what will the Giants do with all their money?,” and “will Cueto regret turning down six years and $120+ million from the Diamondbacks?” And, by the way, on that last one: how’d you like to do some mental gymnastics and think about how different this offseason could have looked if he’d accepted that deal?

In any case, the above is all referencing the latest from Ken Rosenthal, who reports that the Giants are “making a strong push” for Cueto, who remains the top free agent pitcher on the market, even as his market and contract value have been a little difficult to discern.

Although Cueto was never a target for the Cubs, his story has remained important to follow, not only because of his role within the broader free agent market, but also because whatever team lands him will instantly add a near-ace-caliber pitcher when healthy. Unfortunately, if that team is the Giants, the NL West will have yet another extremely strong team competing at the top, and another very strong Wild Card contender. Since not all of the Giants, Dodgers, and Diamondbacks will win the West, and since not all of the Cubs, Cardinals, and Pirates will win the Central, there’s some clear interrelation here. Are any top free agents besides David Price planning on signing in the American League?

Having already added Jeff Samardzija, the Giants stand poised to improve dramatically on their biggest weakness from 2015. At times, the team’s rotation looked horrible behind Madison Bumgarner, but with Samardzija and Cueto in the fold, the near-term upgrade would be significant. Their run of alternating year World Series wins could be held intact.

The Giants could also probably stand to add a bat in the outfield, though that market remains quiet, besides the Cubs’ Jason Heyward signing.

UPDATE: There’s a deal:

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