The Kansas City Royals have acquired Johnny Cueto from the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The teams have since announced the deal.
According to Marly Rivera of ESPN Deportes, left-hander Brandon Finnegan is "likely" going to the Reds. Along with Finnegan is lefty John Lamb, who Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reported that is also heading to Cincinnati. Both players were included as going to the Reds in the announcement of the trade, along with a third lefty, Cody Reed.
This deal was struck just hours after the teamsreportedly had a deal finalized before a medical issue caused the deal to fall apart. The Royals had long since been a suitor for Cueto and had shown interest throughout his time on the market.
The Royals have had issues with their rotation even before Jason Vargas tore his UCL. Cueto gives them a true ace and likely gives the team a legitimate chance of repeating as AL Champions. They are currently 59-38 and lead the AL Central by 7 1/2 games.
Cueto is likely going to be the most talented pitcher to change hands before the trade deadline (though that could change with David Price in the coming week). He finished second in the NL Cy Young award voting last season and has similar success in 2015.
One thing about Cueto is that he comes with little postseason experience. He's made just three starts in the playoffs over his eight year career, allowing six runs (five earned) in 8 2/3 innings pitched. Cueto's inexperience could play a role during this October, as he is the Royals' obvious No. 1 starter and will be counted on to lead them to a victory.
The 29-year-old Cueto is 7-6 with a 2.62 ERA (3.12 FIP) in 19 starts this season. He has a 120 to 29 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 130 2/3 innings pitched. He has a career 3.21 ERA and 3.80 FIP. When pitching against American League opponents, he is 14-6 with a 2.80 ERA in 178 innings pitched (28 starts).
"Cueto will be forever grateful to the Reds organization and the Cincinnati fans," agent Bryce Dixon told Chris Cotillo of SB Nation's MLB Daily Dish. "He is excited to be on the Royals and can't wait to join the team."
The Reds do get a fair return for the All-Star pitcher, getting a guy who has MLB experience after being just a year removed from being drafted in Finnegan, a Major League ready arm in Lamb, and a wild card prospect in the Double-A starter Reed.