We have the first blockbuster of the 2015 trade deadline season. The Kansas City Royals have acquired Johnny Cueto from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb and Cody Reed, the team announced. Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com first reported the deal.
Cueto, 29, instantly becomes ineligible to get a qualifying offer in the offseason when he becomes a free agent, meaning he will be able to land as big of deal as possible.
Finnegan, 22, is the headliner of the package going back to Cincinnati. A first round pick in 2014, Finnegan joined the team that season during the Royals’ World Series run and pitched great, going 0-1 with a 1.29 ERA and 10/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in seven regular season games. He did, however, struggle against the San Francisco Giants in the World Series, as he gave up five earned runs in only 1.2 innings pitched. That said, Finnegan is a really good get for the Reds. He is more than capable of helping the team now and in the future.
Lamb, 25, was ranked as the Royals No. 18 best prospect by Baseball America pre-2011. From 2009 to 2014, he struggled in the minor leagues, but he appears to have bounced back this season, as he’s 9-1 with a 2.67 ERA and 96/29 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He isn’t a player of significant value, but if he keeps this up, he can make it to the big leagues sometime in the near future.
Reed, 19, was a second round pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2014. He is well built, as Baseball-Reference.com lists him at 6’3″, 245 pounds. He has been very good this season in Low-A Hillsboro, as he is 4-1 with a 1.37 ERA and 46/9 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
With the Royals, Cueto instantly becomes the teams best pitcher and he will be reunited with his good friend, Edinson Volquez, who pitched with Cueto in Cincinnati for four seasons.
The Royals, who were already 6.5 games ahead of the Minnesota Twins in the American League Central, just added one of the best right-handed standing pitchers in the game. If they weren’t the clear favorites before this, they sure are now.
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