The Miami Marlins won only 69 games during the 2022 season, a continuation of their putrid 2021 following a magical (condensed) 2020 season. However, despite the Marlins’ struggles on the diamond, their starting pitching depth, led by 2022 NL Cy Young Award winner Sandy Alcantara, remains immense. And their position of strength got even stronger following the addition of Johnny Cueto from free agency.

On Monday midnight, Johnny Cueto and the Marlins agreed on a two-year, $16.5 million deal ($8.5 million guaranteed) with a club option for the second year, per Jon Heyman of the New York Post. Cueto is coming off a solid year with the Chicago White Sox, having pitched to the tune of a 3.35 ERA in 158.1 innings pitched (24 starts).

Nonetheless, the Marlins’ decision to add Cueto seems surprising on the surface, given their considerable supply of capable starters. In addition to the 36-year old veteran, the Marlins have Sandy Alcantara, Pablo López, Jesus Luzardo, Trevor Rogers, Edward Cabrera, and Braxton Garrett to compete with one another for five spots in the starting rotation. (Alcantara and Lopez appear to be the only shoo-ins among those pitchers.)

In addition, Sixto Sanchez could finally make his much-anticipated return to the mound after missing the past two seasons with injuries, while the Marlins’ farm system is stacked with exciting young arms such as Eury Perez, Jake Eder, Dax Fulton, and Max Meyer.

Thus, something has to give for the Marlins. Their starting pitching depth could mean that a trade, particularly for an impact position player, could be in the cards, especially when Miami posted the third-worst run total in 2022. It makes too much sense for the Marlins to utilize a position of strength (even more so following the addition of Johnny Cueto) to try and patch up a glaring weakness.

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It’s unclear which arms the Marlins decide to trade in the end. But one thing’s for sure: the Marlins will trade at least one or two of those aforementioned starting pitchers before Spring Training begins.