A trade that would have sent Cincinnati Reds ace pitcher Johnny Cueto to the Kansas City Royals on Saturday evening has fallen through, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 26, 2015
The 29-year-old Cueto is one of the most coveted and talented starting pitchers on the trade block. Several teams have been linked to the former All-Star, including the Yankees, Astros, Dodgers, and more. But the Royals are the first team to pounce and intensify their efforts to acquire him.
However, the trade fell through and at this time, Cueto is not destined to don the Royal blue. Rosenthal is hearing from other reporters that one of the players who would have gone to Cincinnati in the trade did not pass a physical.
The identity of the player(s) that would have been dealt to the Reds is not known. Yet, the Royals have probably at least established a base with the Reds as far as what the team is looking for in return for Cueto. Currently, the Royals sit in first place in the NL Central with a 58-38 record, putting them 6.5 games ahead of the Minnesota Twins.
On Saturday night, Cueto took the hill at Coors Field to face the Colorado Rockies and pitched arguably his best game of the season. Through eight shutout innings, Cueto allowed just four hits, one walk, and struck out five batters.
Yet, Reds pitcher Michael Lorenzen was warming up before the game, prepared to pitch in Cueto’s place if a rumored trade with the Royals was completed.
Some good stuff postgame from Cueto. Lorenzen was getting ready to pitch. Told Cueto he was getting traded. But deal didn’t happen. #reds
— Mark Sheldon (@m_sheldon) July 26, 2015
Upon finding this out, Cueto tells MLB.com that it sent his world into a frenzy, making him feel unsure of where to go or what to do.
“I don’t want to use a bad word in this location, but it was really bad how I found out what happen. My head went around the whole way. My thoughts were all over the place. I didn’t know what to do.”
If the Royals were to add Cueto, their playoff hopes and aspirations would appear brighter. On the season, Cueto owns a 7-6 record with a sparkling 2.62 ERA through 130 2/3 innings after Saturday’s effort. Despite their status as one of the top teams in baseball record-wise, the Royals’ starting pitching has been suspect at times.
With Chris Young (8-6, 3.32 ERA) and former Reds teammate Edinson Volquez (9-5, 3.15 ERA) pitching well, other members of the rotation have struggled at times. Those names include young flamethrower Yordano Ventura (4-7, 5.19 ERA), Jeremy Guthrie (7-6, 5.35 ERA), and Danny Duffy (4-4, 4.03 ERA).
Thus, adding a pitcher to the caliber of Cueto would solidify the Royals as perhaps one of, if not the most, dominant team in the American League.
One thing the Royals will have to wear off is the fact that Cueto will be a free agent at season’s end. Therefore, the team will likely do their best to not give up any top prospects for what would in all likelihood be a two-month rental. Although the talks on this particular trade fell through, it is possible for both sides to revisit a possible trade but with the Reds receiving different player(s).
[Image by Joe Robbins/Getty Images]