Let the Reds firesale begin.
Cincinnati has traded its ace Johnny Cueto to the Kansas City Royals for three left-handed pitchers – Brandon Finnegan, Cody Reed and John Lamb.
Cueto has spent his entire MLB career in the Reds’ organization signing with the club in 2004. He made his MLB debut in 2008. Cueto’s best season took place last year when he won 20 games, led the NL in strikeouts with 242 and finished runner up in NL Cy Young balloting to Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers. In 2015, Cueto went 7-6 with a 2.42 ERA with a medicore Reds team.
The Royals are currently leading the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central by 6 1/2 games. What is remarkable is that the Royals don’t really have an ace. Cueto’s former Reds teammate Edinson Volquez is the Royals’ best starter with a 9-5 record with a 3.15 ERA. But while Jeremy Guthrie, Chris Young and Danny Duffy are serviceable they do not strike fear into the hearts of hitters. Cueto does so it cannot hurt the Royals to acquire an ace. Perhaps Cueto can also be a positive influence on Yordano Ventura.
Given that Cueto is a free agent at the end of 2015, I think this trade will benefit the Reds in the long term. I was quite impressed with Finnegan last season when he became the first MLB player to pitch in both the College World Series and the World Series in the same year. Finnegan has spent most of this season in the minors as he is being converted into a starting pitcher. I would not be surprised if Finnegan eventually becomes the Reds ace.
A short time ago, Pedro Martinez and Juan Marichal shared the stage as Martinez was inducted into the Hall of Fame. They are the only two Dominican players who are in Cooperstown. Cueto could be the third.