After another disappointing season, the Boston Red Sox are looking to make a splashy move in the offseason to improve their pitching. Johnny Cueto of the Kansas City Royals is someone they’ve been considering for some time, but his inconsistent form in the postseason hasn’t helped them make a decision.
Cueto made $10 million in 2015, traded by the Cincinnati Reds to the Royals where he didn’t have the best of regular seasons, posting a 4.76 ERA after the trade. But he was an All-Star last season and looked good during his time with the Reds with a 2.62 ERA prior to the trade, and overall going sub 3.00 from 2011 to 2014.
The soon to be 30 year old has been inconsistent in three starts for the Royals in the postseason. He allowed 7 hits and four runs in his opening performance, but followed that up by playing eight innings, striking out 8 and giving up just two hits and runs five days later. He has played once in the ALCS and went back to his no-control ways, giving up eight runs in just two innings before being taken off. Impossible to tell where this is going for him.
Cueto might be dealing with an elbow injury (but the Royals are denying it) and overall has seem emotional and careless. Maybe it’s just the time in Kansas City not doing him a world of good, but perhaps it’s a warning sign to stay away. He’s not walking players as much as he used to (down to 1.9 walks per nine innings with Kansas City) but it’s hard to say if this postseason is hurting or helping his stock and what it’s doing to the Red Sox interest in him.
His past postseason performances with the Reds don’t really generate a lot of confidence either. Cueto just might be one of those players that cracks a bit under the higher stakes kind of pressure the playoffs bring into the mix. The Red Sox need help all over the place, but they’ll be going after Cueto only if the price of his current salary doesn’t take an unnecessary hike which will scare them and other suitors away.