Should the Miami Marlins worry about Johnny Cueto?

Johnny Cueto
Johnny Cueto / Eric Espada/GettyImages

The Miami Marlins made some roster moves yesterday after losing a home series to the New York Mets. Last night saw The Fish get clobbered by the Minnesota Twins and the culprit was none other than new acquisition starting pitcher Johnny Cueto. Cueto gave up 4 runs, 3 hits and a walk in a disastrous inning of work. The question now is whether Cueto needs to go on the injured list or if The Fish have to reconsider Cueto's future on the team.

Johnny Cueto was very disappointing in his first start for the Miami Marlins.

It's possible that Johnny Cueto is actually injured. In the case that he is, he just needs to go on the injured list and Braxton Garrett needs to be recalled to take his spot. I wonder if giving Garrett the rotation spot to be gin with, instead of signing Cueto was actually the right move all along. Garrett had a 3.58 ERA/3.56 FIP with 9.2 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 17 games and 88.0 innings pitched last season, but in his lone relief appearance this season, he produced a pretty bad 6.00 ERA/6.94 FIP with just 3.0 K/9 and 0.00 BB/9 in 3.0 innings pitched.

Johnny Cueto is already 37 years old and was pretty poor prior to last season. From 2008-2018 with the Cincinnati Reds, Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants he produced a 3.33 ERA/3.80 FIP with 7.5 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 292 games and 1840.1 innings pitched. In 2019-2021 Cueto struggled with his health, and delivered a 4.59 ERA/4.38 FIP with 7.7 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 38 games (37 starts) and 194.0 innings pitched. He then bounced back in 2022 with a 3.35 ERA/3.79 FIP with 5.8 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 in 25 games (24 starts) and 158.1 innings pitched with the Chicago White Sox in 2022.

So far in the 2023 season, Johnny Cueto has a 36.00 ERA/32.27 FIP with 0.0 K/9 and 9.0 BB/9 in a game and 1 inning pitched. There's no doubt that after a poor performance in Spring Training on top of this, it's hard to call this a complete fluke. I think that the Miami Marlins should give him a short leash, and if he struggles in his next start or two as well, demote him to the bullpen or even release him.

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