The Miami Marlins signed starting pitcher Johnny Cueto for 1 year $6.5 million with a $2.5 million buyout of a $10.5 million team option for 2024. This signing pretty much guarantees that The Fish will be trading another starting pitcher for hitting. There is a need for bullpen upgrades, but that is something that can be done easier before Spring Training starts. How good will Cueto be for the team? Why is it a guarantee that someone else will get traded?
The Miami Marlins added rotation depth by signing Johnny Cueto.
Johnny Cueto debuted in 2008 with the Cincinnati Reds and delivered a 4.81 ERA/4.90 FIP in 31 games and 174.0 innings pitched. In 2009 he slightly improved by producing a 4.41 ERA/4.69 FIP in 30 games and 171.1 innings. 2010 saw Cueto improve further to a 3.64 ERA/3.97 FIP in 31 games and 185.2 innings. Cueto finally broke out in 2011 with a 2.31 ERA/3.45 FIP in 24 games and 156.0 innings.
2012 solidified Johnny Cueto as an ace, when he produced a 2.78 ERA/3.27 FIP in 33 games and 217.0 innings. He also won 19 games, leading to fourth place in NL Cy Young voting. In an injury-shortened 2013 he had a 2.82 ERA/3.81 FIP in 11 games and 60.2 innings. In 2014, he went 20-9 with a 2.25 ERA/3.30 FIP in 34 games and 243.2 innings. This led to him finishing second in NL Cy Young voting. Cueto split 2015 between Cincinnati and the World Series winning Kansas City Royals, finishing with a 3.44 ERA/3.53 FIP in 32 games and 212.0 innings.
Cueto signed with the San Francisco Giants after the season and pitched for the team from 2016 to 2021. During that time he produced a 3.81 ERA/3.93 FIP in 104 games and 614.0 innings. In 2022 he pitched for the Chicago White Sox and produced a 3.35 ERA/3.79 FIP in 25 games and 158.1 innings pitched.
I think that Johnny Cueto is a good veteran presence in the rotation. He's obviously not going to be in the bullpen, so this means that someone has to leave the rotation. Sandy Alcantara isn't going anywhere; Edward Cabrera pitched too good to not be in it if not traded; the same applies to Jesús Luzardo, Trevor Rogers and Pablo López. If no one is traded, it's hard to see any of them moving to the bullpen or demoted to the Minors, and I'm not sure that a 6-man rotation is happening either.