On Sunday, the Royals made the biggest July trade deadline deal in franchise history by acquiring pitcher Johnny Cueto from the Reds, easily topping their acquisition of Graeme Lloyd in 2003. Here's what the internet had to say.
Royals typically not a win-now deal-making team, but their window is NOW, with Hosmer, Moustakas, Lo Cain climbing the arbitration ladder.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 26, 2015
Royals as of this morning: 21st in starting pitching ERA, 29th in innings for starters. Now they add Johnny Cueto as a Human Band-Aid.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 26, 2015
Johnny Cueto since 2011: 808 IP, 2.51 ERA. He's a true ace, the Royals' first since Zack Greinke, and makes KC big favorites in the AL.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 26, 2015
BABIP God Johnny Cueto now gets the Royals defense.— Beyond the Box Score (@BtBScore) July 26, 2015
Johnny Cueto told reporters in Cincinnati: "I know it's a good trade, but I'm very sad." But Cueto did say he was "excited" to play for KC.— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughStar) July 26, 2015
Cueto on #Royals: "They do have a great team. I know they play baseball very good.I know it’s going to be good for my career, good for them"— Jeffrey Flanagan (@FlannyMLB) July 26, 2015
Reds GM Walt Jocketty seemed happy with the deal.
"We got three left-handed pitchers, quality left-handed pitchers, that we think very highly of," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. "It was tough for Kansas City to give all three up, but we were finally, in the end, able to do that. There was a lot of interest in Johnny and we felt that this was the best value we could get for now."
Cueto will change numbers in Kansas City.
Per Edinson Volquez who is close friends w Cueto he will wear #45 because he doesn't want to pay Morales for #47 #royals— Bob Fescoe (@bobfescoe) July 26, 2015
Edinson Volquez is happy to reunite with his buddy from Cincinnati.
"The last time he was here against us, he told me we got a great team," Volquez said. "I was joking around and I said, ‘We might bring you here.’" Looks like Volquez has a crystal ball....
"He’s competitive. He wants to win," Volquez said. "This is the right place for him to win some games."
Jarrod Dyson promised to take care of Johnny for his buddy Brayan Pena.
Cueto won't join the team until tomorrow.
Cueto expects to join the Royals on Tuesday in Cleveland.— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughStar) July 26, 2015
Clark Fosler at Royals Authority is pretty pumped.
These three guys all have potential, but they all have question marks and none of them will ever by Johnny Cueto. Of course, the argument goes, the Royals only get Cueto for a short period of time. There is this ‘I don’t like rentals’ sentiment that runs perilously close to being a ‘get off my lawn’ mindset. There is also the ‘hate to part with prospects’ mentality, drummed into many of us when all we had as Royals’ fans was the hope of prospects. I’m not buying either mindset. This was at worst a fair trade and quite possibly a clear win for the Royals.
In the end, this trade really comes down to this: Are the Royals more likely to win a World Series with Johnny Cueto on this team THIS year or more likely to win a title with Finnegan, Lamb and Reed paired with what is left in 2017?
Jeff Sullivan at Fangraphs points out that Cueto could be a huge help to the bullpen.
But what that reasoning leaves out is the significance of rest. Not just during the year, but also in the playoffs. The Royals couldn’t be quick to the bullpen in every game. That would increase the odds of the relievers wearing down. And then with worn-down relievers, the Royals would have nothing fresh. The idea here is that Cueto makes the Royals better in the games he pitches, and then indirectly, he could also make the Royals better in the games he doesn’t pitch. It’s not a massive effect, it’s not a landscape-altering transaction, but if you can trust Cueto for an extra turn through the order, then you can save some of the reliever bullets. The Royals might need every last one of them.
Keith Law of ESPN calls the trade a win for both sides.
There's a good chance the Reds end up with two mid- to back-of-the-rotation starters from this trade, and possibly a good reliever, too, assuming all three guys stay healthy. That feels like a solid return for 11 starts from Cueto.
Christina Karhl of ESPN loves the deal for the Royals.
He's the real deal, someone so good whom the Royals might never get via free agency, so they have to pay with prospects in their moment of need. And that's OK -- farm systems aren't just about creating talent to hoard, they create commodities to barter with to get the things you can't afford on the open market. Cueto is the best starting pitcher the Reds organization has created in decades. And he should be the best starting pitcher the Royals have had since Zack Greinke.
Kevin Ruprecht at Beyond the Boxscore quantifies the upgrade.
The projected improvement is anywhere from 1.5 wins to 0.6 wins. I'd guess Cueto will replace a mixture of the guys above, so it's probably a one-win improvement, give or take a bit if you want to use a runs allowed WAR rather than a FIP based one. As far as Cueto's fit for the Royals, it's really quite perfect. Cueto is already a low-BABIP, high-LOB-rate, fly-ball kind of guy. Now he has the Royals defense and a much larger, non-homer-prone park. Despite the transition from the NL to the AL (Cueto has pitched for the Reds his entire career), he will work just fine in Kansas City.
Baseball Prospectus thinks its a perfect fit.
Cueto has demonstrated a true talent for limiting opposing hitters’ batting averages on balls in play: opponents have a .239 aggregate BABIP since the start of 2013. He gets ground balls, he avoids hard contact, and with that windup in which he turns away from the batter, he achieves deception hardly anyone can match. All of that will go really nicely with Cueto’s new home park, and with the skill sets of his new teammates.
The Royals’ remarkable defense (third in Defensive Efficiency this season, ninth in the park-adjusted version of the same stat) should only augment all of the things that have made Cueto unique and dominant for years. Ditto for Kauffmann Stadium, which is slightly less hitter-friendly than the Great American Ball Park, and specifically, much, much less homer-friendly. The fit between team and player couldn’t be much better.
Tim Healey of "Sports on Earth" thinks Cueto is not enough for the Royals.
What does all that mean? Before acquiring Cueto, the Royals had a rotation that was very not good. It strikes out too few, gives up hard-hit balls to too many and allows too many runs. All of that combines to make it the least valuable starting corps in the league. A lock-down back end of the bullpens helps mitigate that, and adding Cueto is an improvement -- what with a sub-3.00 ERA, sub-1.00 WHIP and more than four strikeouts for every walk -- but he's only one guy. It's hard to win a playoff series with one quality starter.
Jim Callis thinks Cody Reed could be the key to the deal for the Reds.
Royals fans seemed to love the deal.
Crazy to think the #Royals are acquiring a player the caliber of Cueto at the trade deadline....This is Awesome!!!— Mike Smith (@jayhawkmike) July 26, 2015
Finnegan, Lamb, and Cody Reed it is. Emotionally it hurts, because of the history we have with the first two. But rationally it makes sense.— Rany Jazayerli (@jazayerli) July 26, 2015
60% of the Royals rotation is now Dominican. If you're Colin Cowherd, they're stupid. If you're Royals fans, it's stupid good.— THE Fake Ned (@TheFakeNed) July 26, 2015
But not everyone was thrilled.
@royalsreview I would be willing to bet Lamb could do as well as Cueto over 2 months. Cert not willing to spot Starling, Finn, Man + more— Dr. Stephen McGinnis (@SteveWV10) July 26, 2015
John Lamb was a pretty classy act.
We'll never forget what Brandon Finnegan did for us last fall.
Thanks to the Royals for all the opportunities they've given me and all the amazing fans. I will miss you all. Time for a new chapter— Brandon Finnegan (@bfinny29) July 26, 2015
Cueto could give Salvador Perez a run for his money on social media.