White Sox sign Johnny Cueto to 1-year deal

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The White Sox have agreed to a one-year deal with veteran right-hander Johnny Cueto, a source confirmed late Monday.

It’s a reported $4.2 million deal for the 36-year-old starter, arguably the best pitcher available on the free agent market, and it helps the Sox absorb the loss of veteran right-hander Lance Lynn, who is having knee surgery Tuesday in Chicago.

With spring training concluding for the Sox on Tuesday and Opening Day just three days away on Friday, Cueto will likely open the season at Triple-A Charlotte. Cueto signed a minor league deal, which is pending a physical.

Cueto, 36, posted a 4.08 ERA over 114 2/3 innings last season with the Giants, appearing in 22 games (21 starts). He owned a 20 percent strikeout rate and a 6.1 walk rate.

“Much love to the fans of the San Francisco Giants,” Cueto posted on Twitter late Monday. “You guys are the best. I will miss you. Bobby Evans, Dick Tidrow, Erwin Higueros, Jeremy Shelley and the rest of the amazing staff in SF…thanks for everything. Let’s get to work Chicago.”

Cueto is a two-time All-Star, with the Reds in 2014 and Giants in 2016, and has finished in the top six in Cy Young Award voting three times during his career.

Cueto owns a 135-97 record and 3.45 ERA over 14 seasons with the Reds, Royals and Giants.

Manager Tony La Russa said Monday that Lucas Giolito, Dylan Cease and Michael Kopech will start the first three games of the season in Detroit this weekend. He said Dallas Keuchel will follow them when the team returns home to face the Mariners next week, but didn’t name a fifth starter, although Vince Velasquez and Reynaldo Lopez are stretched out.

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