KANSAS CITY, MO. – The Kansas City Royals acquired Johnny Cueto in a trade with Cincinnati on Sunday, sending three prospects to the Reds for a legitimate ace for the front of their beleaguered rotation.
Kansas City has the best record in the American League. But Yordano Ventura has underperformed and Jason Vargas will miss the rest of the season after he injured his elbow last week — increasing the need for pitching help.
The Royals last won the World Series in 1985, and the trade was greeted with a loud ovation when it was announced during the third inning of Kansas City’s home victory over Houston on Sunday afternoon.
“I’m excited about my next chapter,” Cueto, 29, said with Reds catcher Brayan Pena serving as his translator. “I know they play baseball very well. I’m excited because I know it’s going to be good for my career and good for the team.”
Cueto, who is eligible for free agency after the season, had spent his entire career with Cincinnati. He won 20 games last season and is 7-6 with a 2.62 ERA in 19 starts this year. But the fourth-place Reds are looking to the future and could trade several more significant pieces before Friday’s non-waiver deadline.
Cincinnati received minor league lefthanders Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb and Cody Reed. The Reds also will pay part of Cueto’s remaining 2015 salary. Finnegan, a first-round draft pick in 2014, and Lamb were assigned to Class AAA Louisville. Reed went to Clas AA Pensacola.
“Johnny is going to a great situation,” Reds General Manager Walt Jocketty said. “He’s on a team that has a chance to go to the World Series.”