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With Zack Greinke gone, Johnny Cueto, Kenta Maeda top Dodgers' alternatives

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers lost out on Zack Greinke, who cashed in on a massive six-year contract with the Diamondbacks worth a reported $206.5 million, give or take $15 or $20 million depending on the details of the deferred money.

Los Angeles is said to have made an offer to Greinke of $155 million over five years, per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

"We made a very strong offer to retain Zack, but clearly he found a deal that fit better for him and his family," Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said in a statement. "We are now hard at work on our alternatives. We wish Zack, Emily and Bode all the best going forward."

It is the alternatives on which the Dodgers much focus, with the winter meetings coming in a few days.

With David Price and Jordan Zimmermann also signed, Johnny Cueto is the biggest name pitcher left on the market, and the Dodgers are reportedly interested. Cueto struggled down the stretch for the Royals, though outside of one terrible ALCS start shined in the postseason. On the year he put up a 3.44 ERA and 3.53 ERA in 32 starts between the Reds and Royals, with 176 strikeouts and 46 walks in 212 innings.

Cueto turns 30 in February, and over the last five seasons has a 2.71 ERA, a 145 ERA+ and 3.41 FIP, averaging 27 starts, 178 innings and 149 strikeouts per season, most notably limited to just 11 starts in 2013 with a lat injury. Because he was traded midseason Cueto was not eligible to receive a qualifying offer and will thus not cost his new team a draft pick.

The Dodgers as it stands hold the 24th, 30th and 36th picks of the 2016 draft (this will change often throughout the off-season with various signings), and would prefer not to surrender their first-round pick in signing a free agent if they can avoid it.

Cueto isn't alone on the starting pitcher market.

There is also Kenta Maeda from Japan, expected to be posted next week. That would mean a 30-day window for all teams to negotiate with the right-hander, with the winning bid also paying a likely $20 million posting fee to the Hiroshima Carp.

Maeda, who turns 28 in April, was 15-8 with a 2.09 ERA in 29 starts in 2015 in the Japanese Central League, with 175 strikeouts and 41 walks in 206⅓ innings, winning the Sawamura Award as the league's top pitcher for a second time, having also won in 2015.

He has a 2.16 ERA over his last six seasons, averaging 201 innings and 178 strikeouts per year with Hiroshima.

Maeda in the last year added a changeup to his repertoire, which Ben Badler of Baseball America notes is a pitch that could make Maeda "more comfortably profile as a No. 3 starter" immediately.


Of the available free agent pitchers, Wei-Yin Chen, Yovani Gallardo, Iawkuma, Ian Kennedy and Samardzija would cost a first-round draft pick, while Cueto, Scott Kazmir, Mike Leake and several others will not.

Giving up a pick for Samardzija or Kennedy would be a disaster. I will punch a cat if the Dodgers sign either of those pitchers. But we do know they will add someone. Or perhaps more than one. And not necessarily just through free agency; trades remain a real possibility as well.

"Adding one starter is something that's critically important, but adding two would depend on other factors," Friedman said on Tuesday.

Now we wait.