Rumor: Cincinnati Reds have expressed interest in former SF Giants veteran

Minnesota Twins v Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins v Chicago White Sox / Nuccio DiNuzzo/GettyImages

The SF Giants have fortified their rotation by signing both Sean Manaea and Ross Stripling this week. However, a former Giants pitcher might be landing in familiar territory. Jon Morosi of the MLB Network has confirmed that the Cincinnati Reds are interested in a reunion with Johnny Cueto.

Rumor: Cincinnati Reds have expressed interest in former SF Giants veteran

The veteran starter has pitched in 15 seasons. This includes parts of eight seasons with the Reds as well as six seasons with the Giants. Cueto spent the first part of his career in a Reds uniform, beginning in 2008 where he posted a 3.21 ERA in 213 starts while quietly being one of the better pitchers of that era.

He was traded to the Kansas City Royals midway through the 2015 season and played a role in their Championship run. Cueto became a free agent after that year where he signed a six-year, $130 million pact with the Giants.

The Giants missed out on Zack Greinke that offseason and quickly pivoted to Cueto and Jeff Samardzija. The early returns of that deal were promising as Cueto posted a 2.79 ERA in 32 starts in 2016 while earning an NL All-Star bid. The Giants reached the playoffs that season and Cueto played a huge role in that.

However, the right-handed hurler required Tommy John surgery in the middle of the 2018 season that knocked him out for most of the following year. Cueto returned at the end of the 2019 season and continued to be a staple in the Giants rotation.

The 15-year veteran battled a nagging back issue in his final season with the Giants that limited him to 22 appearances, including 21 starts. The Giants decided to leave him off of the NLDS roster against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Cueto returned to his old form in 2022 as he posted a 3.35 ERA in 25 appearances for the Chicago White Sox.

If the Reds decide to sign Cueto, he will be joining a team that is very much in a transition phase. Some of the veterans like Sonny Gray, Luis Castillio, and Tyler Mahle have departed via trades. The Reds' rotation features some young arms in Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo. That said, it helps to have a veteran mentor on the roster like Cueto.