Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto has enjoyed great success this season with his reworked delivery, registering a superb 2.31 ERA across 156 innings.
But that might be where his numbers finish up.
John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the 25-year-old right-hander had to be removed from Wednesday’s game against the Cubs after suffering a strained right lat in the middle of the fourth inning.
Cueto wound up throwing 3 2/3 scoreless frames, fanning two Cubs batters while scattering three hits.
A strained lat muscle is not a major injury and Cueto seemed to be in good spirits as he was exiting the field, but he’s likely to need over 10 days of recovery time and the regular season schedule wraps up this year on September 28 — exactly two weeks from tonight.
The Reds, currently 14 1/2 games back of the Brewers in the National League Central and 12 1/2 games back of the Braves in the Wild Card, have nothing to gain from rushing Cueto back. And they won’t rush him back.
Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.
Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.
A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.