I'm sad to report some sad news today. It's a shame because the Miami Marlins just won a major series and there are some major positive news on one of the team's positions. The sad news are of course about the new starting pitcher Johnny Cueto. I'll talk about it in a bit, but just want to point out that Braxton Garrett was available the whole time as an internal option instead of Cueto.
The Miami Marlins may be without Johnny Cueto for a long time.
I was concerned from the moment that the Miami Marlins signed Johnny Cueto during the off-season. Cueto is already 37 years old, which is past a player's typical prime years. He also only managed to pitch in a combined 13 games in 2018-2019, as he dealt with injuries in recent years. Excluding the shortened 2020 season, he pitched in 114.2 innings in 2021 and 158.1 innings in 2022. The latter was actually a fine amount of innings, but did come in a contract year.
Johnny Cueto also had some issues with his performance as he aged and became injured more frequently. From 2008-2016 for the Cincinnati Reds, the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants he delivered a 3.23 ERA/3.70 FIP with 7.5 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 258 games and 1640 innings pitched. He was a legitimate ace during this time, and finished second (2014) and fourth (2012) in National League Cy Young voting along the way as well.
It was a different story for Johnny Cueto since 2017... From 2017-2021, he delivered a 4.38 ERA/4.47 FIP with 7.8 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 72 games and 394.1 innings pitched. It looked as if he was about to be done, until he put up a strong 3.35 ERA/3.79 FIP with 5.8 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 in 25 games and 158.1 innings, in his platform season of 2022. I was happy to see him do so good again, but was realistic as to what his prospects were going forward. Fangraphs expected him to be a bottom of the rotation starter this season, and that's what he's been so far (36.00 ERA/32.39 FIP with 0.0 K/9 and 9.0 BB/9.)
Johnny Cueto is now expected to be out of action for weeks (and possibly even longer). It's fair to say that his $8.5 million club option for 2024 won't be picked up, unless he comes back and pitches like he did last season. Kim Ng should never have signed Johnny Cueto.