The St. Louis Cardinals have filled the three missing holes in their rotation this offseason but there’s still room for improvement. Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak has indicated that despite turning the club’s attention towards replenishing the bullpen, he’d still be open to other ideas for starting pitching.
A potential option for the Cardinals to further strengthen their rotation could be a veteran hurler ready to return to the mound next season.
“Johnny Cueto, who turns 38 in February, intends to pitch a 17th Major League Baseball season in 2024,” MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reported Thursday.
Cueto had a challenging 2023 season that was riddled with injuries — resulting in an uncharacteristic stat sheet. He can be a vital weapon for an organization’s rotation when healthy.
The 37-year-old posted a 15-17 record with a 3.66 ERA, 200-to-63 strikeout-to-walk ratio, .276 batting average against, and 1.29 WHIP in 273 innings pitched for the San Francisco Giants and Chicago White Sox throughout the 2021-2022 seasons.
The Cardinals’ rotation is solid with the latest additions but there is speculation that St. Louis still needs to add one more arm. Signing Cueto to a short-term contract would be ideal for the Cardinals given the flexibility they have with the heavily backloaded contract of reigning American League Cy Young runner-up Sonny Gray.
The right-handed pitcher is a proven talent who would provide St. Louis with a respectable amount of innings at a fairly low cost. Acquiring Cueto might be worth pursuing for the Cardinals this winter.