The Miami Marlins made a key move late on Monday, signing veteran starter Johnny Cueto to a one-year, $8.5 million contract that includes a club option for 2024.
Cueto enjoyed a bounce-back season with the Chicago White Sox, posting a 3.35 ERA in 24 starts.
With this move, it now seems increasingly likely that the Marlins will entertain trade offers for right-hander Pablo Lopez.
Lopez, 26, won 10 games and had an ERA of 3.75 in 32 starts in 2022.
Following the Cueto signing, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi made a prediction that the Marlins will likely soon deal one of their starting pitchers, with Lopez being the focus of any potential trade.
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) January 10, 2023
The Marlins certainly have the starting pitching depth to get through the 2023 season.
Now, they could use a bat, and the best way for them to get that is via a trade, with Lopez being the most likely trade chip out of their starting pitchers.
There are still several teams in need of starting pitching depth who could benefit from trading for Lopez.
The Boston Red Sox have several question marks in their rotation with Nathan Eovaldi, Rich Hill, and potentially Michael Wacha all gone.
Chris Sale and James Paxton are also coming off injury-plagued seasons.
The San Francisco Giants lost Carlos Rodon in free agency and could use another arm.
The St. Louis Cardinals have shown interest in Lopez in the past, and they also could use some extra starting pitching depth, especially with only Steven Matz signed for 2024.
The Marlins have several avenues they could explore if they are looking to deal Lopez.