Detroit Tigers: 5 Starting Pitching Trade Deadline Targets

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Jun 26, 2015; New York City, NY, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Johnny Cueto (47) pitches during the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Johnny Cueto

Think back to December 14, 2014. The Detroit Tigers had just shipped Rick Porcello to the Boston Red Sox for a package that included Yoenis Cespedes and Alex Wilson.

Rumors swirled that the Tigers would be making a deal for a starting pitcher to fill Porcello’s hole, and the expected hole of Max Scherzer, who had not yet signed with the Washington Nationals.

Tigers’ fans let their imaginations get the best of them when the team rumored to be working with Detroit was the Cincinnati Reds. It had to be Johnny Cueto, right? On an expiring contract, the Tigers would do what they needed to do to stabilize that starting rotation, especially with the expected loss of Scherzer.

So you can imagine everyone’s disappointment when it was Alfredo Simon, and not Cueto coming to Detroit. Seven months later, the Tigers could be keying in on Cueto once again.

What makes Cueto so elusive is his ability to mix up pitches and speeds, making it hard for hitters to guess what is coming next. On a Reds’ team largely going through the motions all season long, and closing in on last place in the NL Central, Cueto is almost certainly available to the highest bidder. And if the Tigers are indeed buyers, with David Price staying put this season, he is probably the best name on the market right now.

Cueto is sporting a 2.84 ERA and 0.917 WHIP. He was sharp against the Tigers last month until Miguel Cabrera slammed a rare mistake pitch deep into the stands in right field.

Next: Hamels