One of our many long international nightmares is finally coming to an end. Maria Guardado reports that Johnny Cueto will make his first start of the season Tuesday night against the Pirates. Cueto has missed the last 13 months with a torn UCL and he had a minor setback last week with back tightness, but he’s back just in time to get the Giants back in the Wild Card hunt.
Okay, maybe he’s back just in time to fill the hollowed-out trunks of our hearts with nuts of shimmying and quick pitches before the winter comes.
Though it would have been rad for Cueto to come riding down the mountainside on one of his many horses to save the Giants’ season, it’s also just a delight to watch him pitch regardless of leverage. Few pitchers are as entertaining as Cueto and when he’s right, few pitchers are as good as him, too.
Cueto’s return to the rotation means that someone will have to have to make an exit. Logan Webb, Dereck Rodríguez, and Tyler Beede are the candidates to be bounced and Rodríguez is the likeliest of them all.
Rodríguez is coming off one of his best starts of the season, but with the Giants effectively out of contention, there’s no need to play the hot hand. Any decision made is going to be made with an eye to next season and beyond. Webb and Beede have higher upside than Rodríguez and the Giants will want to evaluate what they have and let Beede build more confidence.
On the other hand, perhaps the move that better serves the future is to let Beede pitch out of the bullpen for the rest of the year. He’s thrown a combined 135 innings this year which is the most he’s thrown since 2016. Or maybe the Giants are also sick of waiting for Beede to come around, and they’re higher on Rodríguez who has, you know, actually pitched well in the majors for an extended period.
A spot on the 40-player roster will also need to be created. Zaidi has said that “one of [a baseball front office’s] primary goals should be to create a 40-man roster taking any player off gives you heartburn.” That doesn’t immediately appear to be the case here.
With Trevor Gott and Reyes Moronta going down to injury, the Giants filled those spots with waiver claims. Wandy Peralta and Ricardo Pinto were picked up in the last week, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see either leave just as quickly.
Joe McCarthy, who the Giants received in a prospect for prospect swap with Tampa Bay earlier this year is a strong possibility since he hasn’t hit well at Triple-A. A .165/.247/.488 slash line is poor for any league, let alone the PCL with the juiced ball.
Kyle Barraclough might also be a candidate considering he hasn’t been an effective major league pitcher since 2017, and he’s lost three mph on his fastball.
Regardless of who is leaving, Johnny Cueto is coming back, and that’s great news.