Update: July 26, 2015, 9:00 pm PT
While the Kansas City Royals may have proven that they don’t plan on settling for second place this season by acquiring a rental pitcher in Johnny Cueto, by rental I mean that Cueto will be a free agent at season’s end and it’s unlikely the Royals will have the money to re-sign him, the Cincinnati Reds seem to have been the team to “win” in this trade. They received three young premiere left-handers in Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb and Cody Reed.
Reds trade Cueto to Royals for LHPs Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb and Cody Reed.
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) July 26, 2015
Finnegan, 22, was the Royals first round draft pick in 2014 and ended up playing on the Royals’ postseason roster. He had three very good outings in the Wild Card game and in the ALDS. He struggled a bit in the ALCS and the World Series but that’s likely just because well, it was his first big league season.
He’s been used in the majors this season but has been up and down between the big leagues and the minors. He has the potential to be a starter but his velocity remains higher when he pitches in long relief out of the bullpen. Although he’s never made a big league start his long relief appearances show that he could be inserted into the Reds’ starting rotation as soon as this season. In six of his relief appearances for Kansas City he has lasted two or more innings, throwing as many as 51 pitches in one outing.
Lamb, 25, has spent the last two seasons at Triple-A Omaha as a starter, after having Tommy John surgery in 2011. Since then his recovery has gone well and his velocity up. His fastball usually sits in the low-mid 90’s and has touched as high as 96 mph. He’s 9-1 with a 2.67 ERA in 17 starts in Omaha this season and so long as he remains healthy could be a major asset to the Reds beginning next season
Reed, 22, has a 2.53 in 18 appearances between Class high-A and AA this season. Chosen by the Royals in the second round of the 2013 draft, Reed struggled with his control during his time in the Rookie Leagues. However, since then he’s lowered his walk rate tremendously and is striking out more batters in 2015, keeping is strikeout to walk rate high at 7.9 K’s per nine innings.
So while the Royals get a new ace for their pitching staff for the second half of the 2015 season the return for the Reds shows so much potential for the future in three potential big league left-handed starters who will be ready to make starts possibly by the end of this year or will be ready to go at Spring Training in 2016.
Original text: July 26, 2015, 10:05 pm PT
Well, apparently the Kansas City Royals were not quite satisfied with the American League Pennant they won last season when they ended the (at the time) longest postseason drought in the Majors. They were 90 feet away from tying game seven of the World Series in 2014 and this morning they made a statement saying that they do not intend on letting a World Series Championship slip away again this season. The Royals have acquired starting pitcher Johnny Cueto from the Cincinnati Reds and in doing so let the rest of the baseball community know that they intend to make a Championship run for the second year in a row. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported the trade around noon ET via Twitter.
Source: #Royals getting Cueto.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 26, 2015
Rumors of the impending deal between the two ball clubs were swirling up until Cueto took the mound for the Reds on Saturday. He dominated the Colorado Rockies over eight scoreless innings, possibly even upping his value for the Reds. The return for the Reds is unclear and neither club has confirmed the deal, but the names of Royals’ young pitchers Brandon Finnegan and Sean Manaea have been mentioned.
Cueto is 7-6 with a 2.62 ERA in 19 starts this season. He’s been one of the league’s best pitchers over the last few seasons having posted a 2.51 ERA since 2011, a number second only to Los Angeles Dodgers ace and reigning National League Cy Young Award winner and MVP, Clayton Kershaw.
He will be a free-agent after the season and is unlikely to be re-signed by Kansas City for 2016, so they may be giving up a lot for a rental. I doubt that is how they look at the transaction though. For the Royals, Cueto looks less like a rental and more like their ticket to a World Series victory in 2015.
As more information on the trade comes to light, I will be updating this post – so check back in with BBST for the latest on the Cueto trade!