He has been linked to the Dodgers in the past and a return to the NL -- and either hitter-friendly Dodger Stadium or AT&T Park -- would be beneficial. Cueto still has ace stuff but would slide in well behind either Clayton Kershaw or Madison Bumgarner.
Getty ImagesJamie Squire
Fallback options: Free agent Mike Leake
The Giants liked him enough to acquire him prior to the trade deadline this past July, though the right-hander underperformed (2-5, 4.07 ERA) compared to his first few months in Cincinnati (9-5, 3.56 ERA) in 2015. Leake would also be a nice fit in the lefty-heavy Dodgers rotation.
Getty ImagesJason O. Watson
Fallback options: Free agent Hisashi Iwakuma
He already is being linked strongly to both teams, and could come at a discount after a 2015 season in which he made only 20 starts because of a lat strain. Iwakuma’s stats (3.54 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 107 ERA+) stayed nearly identical to those from 2014.
Getty ImagesOtto Greule Jr
Fallback options: Free agent Yovani Gallardo
Back in July, the Dodgers were reported to have strong interest in Gallardo, who ultimately remained with the Rangers and helped fuel their late-season surge. He quietly pitched remarkably well, posting the lowest ERA (3.42) in any full season of his career.
Getty ImagesRon Jenkins
Fallback options: Free agent Scott Kazmir
After recapturing his early-career form with the A’s (2.38 ERA, 8.3 K/9, 1.08 WHIP), Kazmir slumped following his trade to the Astros (4.17 ERA, 6.6 K/9, 1.39 WHIP). Because he is a lefty, he might not interest the Dodgers as much as the Giants, but Kazmir’s price also is likely to be more budget-friendly.
Getty ImagesBob Levey
Fallback options: Free agent Jeff Samardzija
Coming off his worst season (4.96 ERA) as a starter, Samardzija is a nice bounce-back option, though admittedly a pricey one. Worth noting: His career ERA in the NL (3.97) is superior to his ERA in the AL (4.34), and either AT&T Park or Dodger Stadium would be favorable.
Getty ImagesStephen Dunn
Fallback options: Braves' Shelby Miller
By now, it should be clear that no one on the Braves’ roster is untouchable -- not even a 25-year-old ace who was a first-time All-Star in 2015. Atlanta and LA (and Miami) pulled off a mega-deal this past July, so there’s some history there. And San Francisco also could become a match.
Getty ImagesJim McIsaac
Fallback options: Mets' Matt Harvey
All has been quiet on the Harvey front lately, but he entered the offseason with plenty of trade speculation surrounding him. The Mets need bats, and if they decide they can’t afford to buy them, perhaps they will trade for them (making the Dodgers a more likely trade partner than the Giants).
Getty ImagesJim McIsaac
Fallback options: Nationals' Stephen Strasburg
Like Harvey, Strasburg was a popular name in trade speculation by the end of the season. With a new manager in place and Washington looking to make changes after a dismal 2015 season, Strasburg makes one heck of a trade chip.
Getty ImagesKevin C. Cox
Fallback options: A's Sonny Gray
Sure, the A’s front-office execs continue to deny any rumors about Gray’s availability, but we’ve heard Billy Beane say similar things before -- right before making blockbuster deals. Oakland is notorious for stockpiling young talent, then dealing it away before it gets expensive.
Getty ImagesDavid Banks
Fallback options: Indians' Carlos Carrasco
Dating back to last summer, the Indians have resisted the urge to deal a starter. But with the lineup in need of bats, it might become necessary to move Carrasco. And the Dodgers have a couple of outfielders (see: Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson) who could fill offensive void in Cleveland.
Getty ImagesEd Zurga
Fallback options: White Sox's Chris Sale
Although he appears to fall into the 'untouchable ace' category, the White Sox will have to consider a trade if the right offer comes along. Chicago hasn’t been able to win with him, so perhaps it’s time to cash in while Sale’s value is high.