Cleat Geeks

Reds Future Rests on Cueto’s arm

Has it come down to this – Johnny Cueto must pitch the game of his career tonight for the Reds to get any valuable return on trading him before the Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline of July 31?

According to an executive source to ESPN’s Buster Olney it has.

Cincinnati Reds general manager Walt Jocketty talks on a cell phone during batting practice, Monday, April 1, 2013, in Cincinnati. The Reds open their 2013 season against the Los Angeles Angels Monday.(AP Photo/Michael Keating)

Cincinnati Reds general manager Walt Jocketty will be doing a lot of this until the MLB trade deadline on July 31st.

If the executive, who spoke to Olney, tells the truth here then not only is it Cueto who has his back up against the wall with tomorrow’s start but so does Cincinnati Reds General Manager Walt Jocketty.

And if you’re going to be stuck between a rock and hard place why not show you can pitch well in the high altitude of Coors Field in Denver, Colorado where the baseball’s often fly out of there with stewardesses on them, right? Which is exactly where Cueto will trudge to the mound tonight for the Reds in the second of a three-game-weekend series against the host Colorado Rockies.

It appeared Johnny Beisbol had everything going for him as the All-Star break approached. The righthander’s trade value skyrocketed after two impressive outings against the Minnesota Twins and the Washington Nationals. In the two starts, Cueto pitched 17 innings allowing only one earned run on six hits while striking out 17 and only walking two.

allStarGameLogoThen came the All-Star Game snub where Cueto was beat out by Carlos Martinez of the St. Louis Cardinals for the final roster spot. His first outing after the omission from the National League roster Cueto lasted five innings giving up seven hits, five runs (three earned) and only walking one and striking out two against the Miami Marlins.

Maybe Cueto was trying too hard to impress the scouts in attendance at Marlins Park. Maybe he was trying to show Bruce Bochy he would have been on the roster without the fan vote.

After the lackluster performance in Miami questions again surfaced about Cueto and his elbow. He said he was fine and everyone left for the All-Star break.

Once the final out was made in the All-Star Game, the question was would Cueto make his next scheduled start at Great American Ballpark against the Cleveland Indians? Or would the start be moved back in case a pending deal had been reached with a contender.

Neither happened.

Whether it was the rain delay or the impending humidity last Sunday, Cueto again did not pitch to expectations against Cleveland. He lasted only four innings giving up four hits and two runs. Cueto left more questions than answers as he uncharacteristically threw six walks and only two strikeouts.

It’s alarming because Cueto is Jocketty’s key piece on the trading board to the contenders. Before the last two starts, most experts claimed once Cueto was moved the other dominos would begin to fall into place until the deadline next Friday.


Jocketty can’t make any rash decisions and just trade to make a trade. If the Reds are to go full retool mode Jocketty has to acquire the quality prospects for Cueto, which will make it as quick a turnaround as possible for the Reds. At the same time, Jocketty can’t let those players who could pave the future for the franchise escape to other teams which are shopping their aces such as the Tigers David Price and the Phillies Cole Hamels.

It would seem the fate of all the Reds trading pieces rest on the right arm of Johnny Beisbol tomorrow night.

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