Johnny Cueto was scratched from tonight’s scheduled start against the Rockies and placed on the disabled list with a lat injury, leaving the Reds scrambling to find a fill-in starter. Tony Cingrani no doubt would have been the choice after pitching so well subbing for Cueto earlier this season, but he started yesterday at Triple-A.
Pedro Villarreal will make the spot start in Cueto’s place. Villarreal made his big-league debut with the Reds in September, throwing one scoreless inning in his lone appearance. This season the 25-year-old right-hander had a 5.03 ERA in 11 starts at Triple-A, serving up 13 homers in 59 innings.
As for Cueto … he has a history of lat/oblique problems, including spending a month on the DL earlier this season, and has even talked about potentially needing to adjust his mechanics to avoid further injuries. He’s been fantastic in between DL stints, going 3-0 with a 2.17 ERA in six starts, but if the past is any indication Cueto may not pitch again until after the All-Star break.
Maury Brown of Forbes reports that T-Mobile will be the new naming rights partner for the Seattle Mariners’ ballpark beginning in 2019. Their park had been known as Safeco Field since it first opened in the summer of 1999. The 20-year naming rights deal with Safeco ended with the close of the 2018 season.
Brown reports that the deal will be around $3 million a year, which doesn’t seem like a whole lot. Then again, I have long been skeptical of how much naming rights actually bring back to the naming rights partner. That’s especially true when the partner is slapping its name on a ballpark that was known as something else beforehand. People tend to still use the old name and, I suspect, resent the new one a bit. Maybe that’s less the case when the park has only been known by corporate names, and no beloved traditional name is being displaced, but I still question if anyone really makes a single purchasing decision based on the name of a ballpark.
I know this much for sure, though: despite the relatively small cost of naming rights here, none of the most notable Seattle-based companies — which include Amazon, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Microsoft, Costco and Alaska Airlines — felt it was worth it. Possibly because they know people are gonna call the place “Safeco” for several years regardless.