The veteran starting pitcher just wrapped up a six-deal deal with the San Francisco Giants, and he’s now a free agent.
Cueto’s stint with the Giants didn’t go exactly as hoped, as the 35-year-old didn’t really live up to expectations.
Given his age and recent production, will he have a hard time finding a home this offseason?
Let’s take a look.
Recapping Cueto’s Stint With The Giants
Cueto’s time with the Giants got off to a nice start.
In his first year with the team, he posted a 2.79 ERA, 2.95 FIP, 1.09 WHIP, and 5.5 bWAR en route to an All-Star selection and votes in both the Cy Young and MVP races.
Unfortunately, things started to go downhill after that.
Over his next three seasons, he was only able to make a total of 38 starts, and the results weren’t great in those games.
He registered a 4.24 ERA, 98 ERA+, and 4.64 FIP during that span.
Things didn’t get much better over the final two years of his deal, as the hurler put up a 4.55 ERA, 91 ERA+, and 4.26 FIP over 34 outings combined in 2020 and 2021.
That’s where we stand today, with Cueto being a free agent and the Giants presumably moving in a different direction.
Giants decline Johnny Cueto’s $22M option
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 5, 2021
Obviously, the two-time All-Star isn’t the pitcher he used to be.
But here’s the thing: Given the way the starting pitching market is behaving this offseason, Cueto shouldn’t have any trouble finding a team to play for in 2022.
Let’s talk more about that.
It’s A Great Offseason To Be A Starting Pitcher
In past years, a guy like Cueto might have only garnered interest from one or two teams in free agency.
But this winter, he might hear from a number of different squads.
That’s because MLB clubs are being extremely aggressive when it comes to signing starting pitchers this offseason.
Andrew Heaney might be the best example to compare to Cueto.
Heaney doesn’t have a very impressive track record at all.
He has a career ERA of 4.72 and FIP of 4.45.
Moreover, he’s coming off of a 2021 season in which he posted an unsightly 5.83 ERA.
Despite all of that, the Los Angeles Dodgers just signed him to a one-year deal worth $8.5 million.
Left-hander Andrew Heaney is in agreement with the Los Angeles Dodgers on a one-year, $8.5 million contract, a source familiar with the deal tells ESPN. Dodgers place a bet that Heaney, 30, can take a leap and jump the market after his rough 2021. @Ken_Rosenthal had a deal first.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 8, 2021
Heaney aside, another pitcher who’s coming off of a poor 2021 campaign recently landed a big deal.
Eduardo Rodriguez, who finished the 2021 season with a 4.74 ERA, already locked down a multi-year deal with a very attractive AAV.
Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez and the Detroit Tigers are in agreement on a five-year deal with between $77 million and $80 million, sources tell ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 15, 2021
Cueto probably shouldn’t get his hopes up about netting a multi-year deal, but given the way things have gone this offseason with the starting pitching market, he really doesn’t have to worry about the possibility of being left in the dust.
It doesn’t seem like many rumors have surfaced yet connecting Cueto to any teams, but it’s surely only a matter of time until that’ll change.
The 2015 World Series champ will likely find himself signing on a dotted line sooner rather than later.