4. Johnny Cueto
The Cincinnati Reds were linked to Johnny Cueto prior to the start of the 2023 season. After a successful season on the South Side of Chicago, Cueto was thought to be a potential mentor to the trio of Hunter Greene, Graham Ashcraft, and Nick Lodolo ahead of last season. The Reds, however, decided to go with Luke Weaver to fill that role instead.
Cueto signed with the Miami Marlins in 2023. After a terrific run with the Chicago White the year prior, the Marlins were hopeful that the right-hander would be a solid middle-of-the-rotation option. However, Cueto didn't produce at the same level he did in 2022, and may find it difficult to secure a major-league deal this offseason.
Cueto was the ace of the Cincinnati rotation from 2011-2015. During that span, Cueto went to the All-Star Game and was a Top 5 vote-getter for the NL Cy Young Award. Cueto finished second behind Clayton Kershaw in 2014.
The Reds decided, however, to part ways with the Cueto at the trade deadline the following year. The Kansas City Royals were in need of a frontline starter, and the Reds were in the midst of a roster rebuild. The two teams made the trade, and Cueto helped lead KC to the 2015 World Series Championship.
Unfortunately, the Reds return featured three left-handed prospects who produced very little during their tenure in Cincinnati. But Cueto is remembered fondly by the Reds fanbase. The hope is that one of Cincinnati's young pitchers can turn into the type of player Cueto was during his prime. Though unlikely to make it to Cooperstown, it's quite likely that Cueto will earn a spot in the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame.