2017 Fantasy Baseball: Kansas City Royals Acquire Trevor Cahill, Brandon Maurer, and Ryan Buchter from San Diego Padres
The Royals surprised some by throwing their hat into the playoff run a week before the deadline. Mind you, they are currently in if the season ended today, but they also are set to possibly lose Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, and Mike Moustakas. Some thought they would either stand pat or sell, but they added three arms to their pitching staff by trading Travis Wood, Matt Strahm, and minor leaguer Estaury Ruiz for Trevor Cahill, Brandon Maurer, and Ryan Buchter.
Why the Royals make this move
From the Royals end this deal makes a whole lot of sense. Cahill just returned from the disabled list and restarted what has been a nice comeback campaign. So far, he is 4-3 with a 3.69 ERA in 61.0 innings. He has 72 strikeouts in those innings, so his success is more than just smoke and mirrors. There is no pressure on him to be a front line starter so he could end up being a nice under the radar addition to help drive them to the wild card (and for your fantasy team).
Buchter and Maurer are like two ships passing in the night. Maurer has been the Padres closer this season (20 saves) and has been fairly effective in that role despite some ugly numbers. He does carry an ugly 5.72 ERA, but his FIP is a robust 3.23, so he should settle in to a middle relief role for the Royals. Buchter has a 3.05 ERA on the season, but the peripherals point the other direction. Still, everyone loves a good situational lefty and he certainly gives them that.
For their trouble, they get rid of Wood. Supposedly, they will be picking up his contract, but with his ERA north of 7.00, they aren’t losing anything there. Strahm was a hot prospect this time last season, but he has struggled for most of the season. He should be a bounceback candidate for the Padres. Ruiz was the prize for the Padres. The 18 year old international prospect is hitting .343 as a professional in 335 plate appearances. He has scored a remarkable 66 runs in that time with eight home runs and 22 stolen bases.
Why the Padres make this move
When you consider the fact that the Royals are picking up the tab on Wood, you essentially get a raw prospect in Ruiz and a former hot prospect in Brahm for the price of a reclamation project in Cahill and two solid, but not great relief pitchers. That’s not a bad haul, but you have to wonder if they couldn’t have gotten more by trading all three individually. I guess one stop shopping is preferrable for them. None of those guys was making a ton of money, so it wasn’t a salary dump. It was simply a way to get some young blood in the system in exchange for a couple of guys that likely won’t be back (Cahill and Maurer).
What this deal means for you
Anytime a closer gets moved you have to pay attention. Granted, Maurer was a borderline fantasy prospect even with 20 saves. Now, he is at best the 7th inning guy for the Royals. I would say that this would be a boon for Brad Hand owners, but he is probably going to be traded himself in the next week. Jose Torres or Kevin Quackenbush would appear to be the most likely candidate to take over. Neither of them inspire a great deal of confidence.
On the flip side, Cahill could be worth an add now that he has been traded to a contender. Of course, that comes with the usual caveats. Petco Park is one of the best pitcher’s parks in baseball and Kaufman Stadium is not. Still, he has a better team behind him, more run support on the way, and more motivation to do well. The only thing standing in his way at this point is health.