Cueto reportedly turns down 6-year, $120 million offer from D-backs

Johnny Cueto helped the Kansas City Royals win the World Series with a two-hit complete-game victory over the Mets in Game 2.

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Free-agent pitcher Johnny Cueto has rejected a six-year, $120 million offer from the Arizona Diamondbacks, according to mlb.com.

Adding an ace to the front of their rotation is the top off-season priority of the D-backs, and Cueto was a prime target of theirs — in part because a team would not have to give up its first-round draft choice to sign him.

The top two pitchers on the free-agent market are David Price and Zack Greinke, but their price tags are expected to be much steeper. Cueto was part of the next tier that includes former Washington starter Jordan Zimmermann, who has agreed to a five-year, $110 million deal with the Detroit Tigers.

The 29-year-old Cueto, who was traded from Cincinnati, where he spent seven-plus seasons, to Kansas City at the trade deadline, was 11-13 with a 3.44 ERA last season. He is 96-70 with a 3.30 ERA for his career.

D-backs general manager Dave Stewart, while not confirming the specifics of Cueto negotiations, told Nick Piecoro of azcentral.com that he’d met with Cueto and his agent and is not necessarily closing the door.

If the Cueto negotiations are unsuccessful, other potential targets could include Jeff Samardzija, Scott Kazmir, Yovani Gallardo, John Lackey or Japanese right-hander Kenta Maeda.