The Chicago White Sox have had their pitching depth tested in the month of March. They traded away Craig Kimbrel, lost Garrett Crochet to Tommy John surgery, and Lance Lynn will be out until mid-May. That leaves their elite pitching staff looking for a few short-term replacements.
To try and fill a hole, they signed Johnny Cueto to a Minor League deal. It is a very interesting name to come out of nowhere but he could provide the White Sox with some good innings to start the year if he makes the team.
Cueto has spent the last six years with the San Francisco Giants. The first year (2016) was magnificent for him as he was an All-Star and a sixth-place finisher for the National League Cy Young. He even received a few MVP votes for his efforts that year.
The contract that he earned with the Giants came as a result of his early career with the Cincinnati Reds. He was also traded to the Kansas City Royals in 2015 (his expiring contract year) where he won the World Series with them. It has truly been a really nice career for him.
The Chicago White Sox added Johnny Cueto for some help with their rotation.
Unfortunately, the final few years in San Francisco could best be described as “inconsistent”. He was okay in 2021 but not the Cueto that exited before some Tommy John surgery of his own in 2018.
Health played a big factor in his decline but the White Sox could try to build him back up. He is 36 years old so he isn’t a solution by any means but he could provide some decent pitching for a team that desperately needs it in the next few weeks. With the pedigree that he has, this was a smart move.
This could go one of two ways. He will either be awesome and stick around or he will be terrible and set free. Either way, the end result for the 2022 season won’t likely hinge on his performance. All they need from him if he eventually works his way back to the MLB are some solid outings.
It is always funny when the White Sox make big moves like this late at night and that is what we have here. With just a few days before Opening Weekend, Rick Hahn doesn’t have much time to waste.
Hopefully, regardless of what happens with the pitching in 2022, the White Sox are able to win the division and make a deep playoff run. We will see if Johnny Cueto proves to be worth more than a Minor League contract soon enough.