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MLB Rumors: Johnny Cueto Contract Interests Reds; Debuted with Cincinnati in 2008

Adam WellsDecember 15, 2022

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 03: Johnny Cueto #47 of the Chicago White Sox throws a pitch against the Minnesota Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field on October 03, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Looking for pitching depth heading into next season, the Cincinnati Reds could turn to a familiar face for help.

Per MLB Network's Jon Morosi, the Reds have shown interest in bringing back Johnny Cueto.

The right-hander made his MLB debut with Cincinnati in 2008 and spent seven-and-a-half seasons with the organization.

The Reds could face competition to sign Cueto. Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet reported Wednesday the Toronto Blue Jays have shown interest in Cueto, even after agreeing to a three-year deal with Chris Bassitt.

If Cueto is looking for an opportunity to win, the Blue Jays have a lot more to offer than the Reds.

Cincinnati's starting rotation features Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, Luis Cessa, Graham Ashcraft and Justin Dunn. Lodolo is the only member of that group who had a sub-4.00 ERA in 2022 (3.66).

Reds starters ranked 20th in MLB with 809.2 innings pitched last season. Greene led the way with 125.2 innings.

Cueto is coming off two straight effective seasons. The 36-year-old had a 4.08 ERA in 22 appearances with the San Francisco Giants in 2021.

Cueto signed a minor league deal with the Chicago White Sox in April. He made his season debut May 16 and finished with a 3.35 ERA in 158.1 innings.

Cueto was one of the best pitchers in baseball during his first stint with the Reds. He had a 2.48 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in 102 starts over four seasons from 2011 to 2014. The Dominican Republic native finished in the top four in NL Cy Young voting in 2012 and 2014.

The Reds finished last season with a 62-100 record, only the second time in franchise history they've lost at least 100 games. They have just two winning seasons and one playoff appearance since 2014.