The Miami Marlins made a notable addition on Tuesday, signing veteran right-hander Johnny Cueto to a one-year contract price $8.5 million with a membership choice. Cueto loved a resurgent 2022, posting a 3.35 ERA and a 3.09 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 25 appearances, however his addition to Miami’s roster is most vital as a result of it ought to precipitate a commerce.
Certainly, the Marlins have been trawling the free-agent and commerce markets all winter searching for offensive upgrades. Kim Ng’s fundamental bait in her quest for an improved lineup? Beginning pitching. The Marlins have the nice fortune of using extra starters than they’ve rotation spots. Rookie supervisor Skip Schumaker may trot out a beginning 5 fronted by reigning Nationwide League Cy Younger Award winner Sandy Alcantara and Cueto that features some mixture of Pablo López, Jesús Luzardo, Trevor Rogers, Edward Cabrera, and Braxton Garrett. And that is with out contemplating among the injured and depth items the Marlins have coming, resembling electrical right-hander Eury Pérez, who CBS Sports activities lately ranked as the game’s eighth greatest prospect.
Presuming that Alcantara, Cueto, and Pérez are staying put, that makes certainly one of Miami’s different arms expendable. López, by advantage of being the closest to his free-agent date (he’ll qualify after the 2024 season), would appear to be the likeliest to go. That he would additionally fetch probably the most in return does not assist his odds of sticking round. Initially acquired as a part of the David Phelps commerce of 2017 (do not forget that blockbuster?), López has established himself over components of the final 5 seasons as an above-average big-league starter, amassing a 3.94 ERA and a 3.44 strikeout-to-walk ratio in additional than 500 innings.
So, that is why somebody like López may be on the transfer, however the place would possibly he be headed? Let’s break down three groups who would make sense as suitors.
The Twins stole headlines from Cueto and the Marlins on Tuesday by buying A.J. Alexy from the Washington Nationals. (Additionally they, um, signed Carlos Correa to a long-term deal.) Even earlier than Minnesota linked again up with Correa, they had been poised to make a commerce to alleviate a congested outfield and enhance a missing pitching workers. Max Kepler’s identify has surfaced in rumors for good cause, although the Marlins could choose an outfielder with higher remaining workforce management; they may discover Alex Kirilloff or Trevor Larnach extra interesting in that respect. Batting champion Luis Arraez will surely match the Marlins’ contact-first acquisition technique, but it surely’s unclear if the Twins would make such a transfer. Royce Lewis, the No. 1 decide within the 2017 draft, has had two consecutive seasons finish due to a torn ACL. In principle, he would signify an attention-grabbing gamble for the Marlins. Given what number of potential combos we have thrown on the market on this paragraph, it appears solely truthful to write down that the Twins are in all probability the Marlins’ most reasonable commerce associate on this entrance.
If not the Twins, then how concerning the Brewers? Matt Arnold, who took over the reins from David Stearns as Milwaukee’s lead choice maker earlier this winter, has gotten comfy executing offers. He is acquired William Contreras, Jesse Winker, Abraham Toro, Javy Guerra, and Bryse Wilson in swaps — and people are simply the gamers he is added who’re projected to make the Opening Day roster. The Brewers have a glut of younger outfielders who’re both large league-ready or near it and who would make sense as commerce candidates, together with Garrett Mitchell, Sal Frelick, and Joey Weimer. That does not embody sensible teenager Jackson Chourio, the sport’s No. 4 prospect, who may pressure his manner into the combination earlier than he turns 20. The catch is Milwaukee seems to have 5 competent beginning pitchers in place following their current cope with Wade Miley. It by no means hurts so as to add one other good arm, nonetheless, particularly not when two of the 5 (Miley and Freddy Peralta) missed vital time final season due to harm.
How’s this for a darkish horse workforce? There’s little to no indication that the Royals beneath new prime government J. J. Picollo are able to make the type of win-now maneuver that getting López (or whomever) would qualify as, however let’s blue-sky all of it the identical. We famous previous to the offseason that the Royals have already got the elements for a high quality younger lineup in place; all they wanted to maneuver into competition, in our previous estimation, was some high quality beginning pitching. Picollo has since signed Jordan Lyles and Ryan Yarbrough this winter, that means that every one they want now to make the leap is, properly, some high quality beginning pitching. The Royals would seem to have extra worthwhile younger hitters than they will presumably begin, suggesting the time will come when Picollo has to make a transfer. For now, he’ll in all probability wait and see.