Johnny Cueto’s 2018 Campaign Ends, Tommy John Surgery a Possibility

cueto – There’s a “strong possibility” that righty Johnny Cueto will require Tommy John surgery, Giants manager Bruce Bochy told reporters today, including Kerry Crowley of the Bay Area News Group (via Twitter). Cueto was placed on the disabled list earlier this evening.

Though clearly a final decision has yet to be made, it’s obviously poor news for a Giants organization that surely hoped for quite a bit more from the veteran starter.

Terrible news out of San Francisco today, where Bruce Bochy said it was a strong possibility that Johnny Cueto would require Tommy John surgery. I remember Cueto’s MLB debut like it was yesterday, striking out 10 Diamondbacks during an afternoon game at Great American Ball Park. The year was 2008 and I didn’t know what a true hangover felt like yet. Man, those were the days. 

Cueto was Cincinnati’s ace for a majority of his years spent in the Queen City, and a lot of people were sad to see him go. It sucked to see him traded from the Reds, but at least we knew he’d be getting a chance to win a World Series in Kansas City (which he did). The Reds’ best opportunity for a championship during his tenure was in 2012, where his postseason ended after just 8 pitches in the infamous NLDS where the Reds blew a 2-0 lead in the 5-game series. Still gives me nightmares.

The Reds, at one time, had an embarrassment of riches with young pitchers that all had top of the rotation stuff. At the time, the big question was whether it would be Johnny Cueto or Homer Bailey that would get the big payday and vote of confidence for the future. The front office decided on Homer Bailey in hopes that success and increased attendance would free up money for Cueto when his contract negotiations began. Well, that didn’t happen and we all know how the rest of 2015 went. The Reds went 18-43 after the trade deadline, beginning what would be an unloading of talent in the efforts to start the rebuild.

To say Cueto has had more success than Bailey since the departure would be an understatement. Homer has spent a majority of his contract on the DL, and while still having injury problems himself, Cueto has won a World Series, signed a six-year, $130 million contract, and started an All-Star Game. Which fate would you choose? I’m not here to get into the whole “oh, the Reds’ front office is incompetent” debate for a few reasons. One, because that’s simply not true based on the moves you’ve seen them make over the past few years (Suarez, Scooter, Peraza, shall I go on?) and two, because you can NEVER predict injuries. In fact, one could argue that Cueto’s quirky delivery that opened himself for more opportunity for injury was enough to give Homer the edge if you were looking at the long-term prognosis for each guy.

I still have my Johnny Beisbol shirt and I still wear it proudly to this day. When Cueto-mania was alive and well in Cincinnati, there was never a better time to be a Reds fan. Getting to see him pitch every fifth day was a treat and it’s something I still miss. Here’s to hoping more tests and findings deem Tommy John not necessary for our boy Johnny. If not, here’s to a speedy recovery. I hope you come back stronger than ever and strike out 10 batters in your post-surgery debut… as long as it isn’t against the Reds.


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