Blue Jays Rumors: Jays scouting Johnny Cueto


If there is one evident truth for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2015, it is the fact that this pitching staff needs a shake-up of some sort. From inconsistent starting pitching to a bullpen that runs the risk of spontaneously combusting once the seal is cracked, changes are going to need to be made if this teams wants to end their long playoff drought.

There is perhaps no bigger change available on the market than Johnny Cueto.

According to Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News, the Toronto Blue Jays sent scout Ed Lynch to Cincinnati for Cueto’s start on Thursday night against the San Francisco Giants. The Reds’ right-hander didn’t disappoint either, throwing seven strong innings of 2-run ball, surrendering five hits and three walks while striking out nine.

After winning a career-hit 20 games, posting a 2.25 ERA, and pacing the majors in strike-outs (242) in 2015, Cueto has started the 2015 campaign with by splitting six decisions (3-3) and posting a 2.93 ERA, a 3.44 FIP, and a career-best 5.09 K/BB ratio over 58.1 innings. Run support has been a big issue for Cueto, with the Reds scoring two or less runs in four of his eight starts this season.

With the Reds at a cross-roads of sorts and Cueto approaching free agency, the right-hander looms at one of the most coveted arms on the market as we get closer to the non-waiver trade deadline. That much was evident on Thursday night, when in addition to Toronto, 20 other scouts were in attendance to watch Cueto throw.

Before we get ourselves into too much of a fervor about Cueto coming to Toronto, we need to be a bit more realistic here. The price is obviously going to be high for the right-hander, as it should be. And while the prospect cost is likely to be 2-3 quality prospects, including pitching, it also comes with the caveat that Cueto is likely a half-season rental at best.

Given the fact that he would no longer yield a compensation pick should the trading team lose him to free agency, the price may be too steep for the Blue Jays to pay. After David Price, Cueto is likely to be the second-best starting pitcher available on what should be a pitcher-heavy market this winter. That said, he’s not going to sign an extension this close to free agency, where he could rake in a much bigger salary.

However, stranger things have happened, and in a season that could mean the change of a regime if failure continues, the Blue Jays may pull out all the stops to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Next: Four Pitchers the Blue Jays Should Target in Trade Talks

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