Fantasy Baseball

2015 MLB Trade Deadline: Kansas City Royals Acquire Johnny Cueto from Cincinnati for Three Pitchers

The Kansas City Royals just got a whole lot better. The Royals acquired Johnny Cueto from the Reds in exchange for prospects Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb and Cody Reed. MLB on FOX reporter Ken Rosenthal first broke the news Saturday night about a potential deal between the two teams, but talks fell through by the end of the night. Reports were the two teams were still in contact and “wanted to get a deal done”, before everything came together Sunday morning. The Royals currently lead the American League Central by 6.5 games over the Minnesota Twins.

How This Impacts the Kansas City Royals

 The Royals already have the 7th best team ERA in the league, and now have a true ace to lead them down the stretch. The 2014 NL strikeout champion has been outstanding this season with the Reds, posting a 2.62 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP in 19 starts. With the Reds currently 19 games behind in the NL Central at 43-52, changes were expected. Despite the Royals being atop their division, starting pitching has been a real problem all season long.

Royals Starting Pitching This Season:

 

STAT AL RANK
IP/start 5.5 Last
ERA 4.30 11th
K/9 6.1 13th

(Courtesy of ESPN.com)

With Jason Vargas out for the remainder of the season with an elbow injuy and Yordano Ventura having a terrible season, the addition of Cueto is a welcome addition to the rotation. It cost the Royals three top prospects, but after coming up short last season in the World Series, the pressure on management to add an impact player was high. The window to win a championship is now for the Royals; so don’t be surprised if the team looks to add some more depth to their roster before Friday’s trade deadline.

How This Impacts the Cincinnati Reds

 The Reds have officially become sellers. With their season basically over, management has decided to throw in the white towel and restock the farm system. Of the three pitchers acquired in the deal, John Lamb is definitely the big catch. The 25-year-old southpaw has a 9-1 record, a 2.67 ERA and a 9.16 K/9 in 17 starts with Triple-A Omaha this season. According to Fangraphs.com, the 2008 fifth round pick has a 25.1% K%, a LOB% of 75.6% and 0.67 HR/9. With the Reds rotation now missing a starter, expect Lamb to make his MLB debut sooner rather than later.

Finnegan has appeared in 14 games for the Royals this season, posting a 3-0 record, a 2.96 ERA and 1.19 ERA. He started the year in Double-A Northwest Arkansas, positing a 0-1 record in three starts, before being promoted to Triple-A Omaha. He struggled a bit after being promoted, posting a 0-2 record and a 7.07 ERA in six games. The kid is the only three of the bunch to play at the big league level and could see some action out of the bullpen by the end of the season. Both Finnegan and Lamb were optioned to Triple-A Louisville after the trade.

As for Reed, the 19-year-old has pitched well at Class A Hillsboro, posting a 4-1 record in seven starts, with a 1.37 ERA and a 0.76 WHIP. Reed will report to Double-A Pensacola.

Both teams will continue to be busy before the trade deadline, but in opposite ways. The Royals will look to add some depth both in the outfield and infield, while the Reds looks to move some of their veteran players. Marlon Byrd is entering the final year of a 2 yrs/$16 million dollar deal and will most likely not be a Red by Friday. Slugger Jay Bruce has one year left on his 6 yrs/$51 million dollar deal and could be dealt as well by the end of the week. Expect both clubs to be very active till the end of the trade deadline.

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