Reds rumored to be in talks with former ace Johnny Cueto

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto.
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto. / Rob Foldy/GettyImages

In an odd turn of events, it appears as though the Cincinnati Reds are actually making moves that could make the club better in 2022. The latest Reds rumors suggest that Johnny Cueto is in discussions about a possible return to Cincinnati.

Cueto pitched for the Reds from 2008-2015 with a 92-63 record and 1,115 strikeouts. The right-hander was dealt to the Kansas City Royals at the trade deadline in exchange for left-handers Cody Reed, John Lamb, and Brandon Finnegan.

Latest Reds rumors suggest a reunion with Johnny Cueto.

MLB insider Héctor Gómez reports that the Cincinnati Reds are in talks with Johnny Cueto. With the starting pitching market beginning to dry up, Cueto is one of the last reliable starters remaining in free agency.

Cueto has spent the last six seasons in the Bay Area pitching for the San Francisco Giants. Injuries have taken their toll on Cueto over the years, as he's gone over 20 starts only three times during his time with the Giants.

Cueto did go to the All-Star Game in his first season with San Francisco after signing a massive six-year/$130M contract after half of a season with the Royals. Cueto's $22M team-option was not exercised following his 2021 campaign effectively making him a free agent.

Cueto appeared in 22 games last season and covered 114.2 innings while posting a respectable 4.08 ERA. It was honestly Cueto's best season since he made 25 starts in 2017. Cueto was a workhorse in Cincinnati, but has eclipsed 200 innings pitched only once (2016) since leaving the Queen City.

These latest Reds rumors are a bit surprising following the latest trade for left-handed starter Mike Minor and GM Nick Krall's assertion that Luis Castillo and Tyler Mahle will not be traded. If Johnny Cueto did join the Cincinnati Reds rotation, you'd be looking at a formidable quintet.

Presumably Castillo, Mahle, Cueto, and Minor would be joined by last year's rookie Vladimir Gutierrez. That would likely take Nick Lodolo, Reiver Sanmartin, Hunter Greene, Brandon Williamson, and Graham Ashcraft out of the running for a spot on the Reds Opening Day roster.

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Stay tuned, as I'm sure we'll get some clarity on these latest Reds rumors very soon. It's exciting to see the Cincinnati Reds making moves, but the moves they are making appear very strange. We'll see how this shakes out.