Two weeks ago on the digital pages of Redleg Nation we saw Jason Linden write about how it would be a good idea to bring back Johnny Cueto. Well it seems that the Cincinnati Reds were listening to Linden’s advice because according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, the Reds have shown interest in doing just that.
Last season was a good one for Cueto. While pitching with the Chicago White Sox he made 24 starts and one relief appearance, posting a 3.35 ERA and throwing 158.1 innings. The soon-to-be 37-year-old allowed 161 hits, 15 home runs, walked 33 batters, and he struck out 102. It was his best season since 2016 – his first season with the San Francisco Giants.
Cincinnati’s current rotation seems like it’s going to include the three second-year pitchers in Nick Lodolo, Hunter Greene, and Graham Ashcraft. But after those three pitchers there are a lot of guys who will be competing for the remaining two spots but don’t have any sort of claim to it. The Reds could certainly use a veteran pitcher on the pitching staff who can bring a lot to the table, and Johnny Cueto certainly seems like he would fit that bill.
While money shouldn’t be an issue for a team that currently has a payroll of $73M for the 2023 season, it seemingly is an issue. MLB Trade Rumors didn’t have Johnny Cueto among their top 50 free agents, so they did not project a salary for him. Given his age, a longer term deal doesn’t seem likely. But given his performance in 2022 he could get a deal that’s for more than a year. Perhaps a deal that would include some sort of option for 2024.
We will all have to wait and see how this plays out, but it seems that the Reds have a good idea here with looking to bring in a pitcher coming off of a successful season. And it plays into their plan of not having to guarantee much into the long term future, too.