The Cincinnati Reds traded away ace pitcher Johnny Cueto to the Kansas City Royals earlier today for three left-handed pitchers, Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb and Cody Reed. The move wasn’t unexpected, as Cueto and his agent made it clear that he wouldn’t listen to contract offers once the 2015 season started. During the offseason, only a few Reds fans held out hope that somehow the Reds and Cueto could come to an agreement on a contract extension, but thanks to large and expensive contracts given to SP Homer Bailey, 1B Joey Votto, RF Jay Bruce and 2B Brandon Phillips, the small market Cincinnati team couldn’t match anything some teams could on the open market.
The move was one of necessity, even if it no doubt made the Reds a weaker team. The Reds will be lucky to finish fourth in the NL Central this season and no doubt need new blood to come into the organization. The team is better off getting something for Johnny Cueto now instead of waiting around and losing him and getting nothing back for him. The Cincinnati Reds front office thought they had a potential competitive team but that soon all went south when catcher Devin Mesoraco went down with an injury, starting pitcher Homer Bailey would soon join the growing injury list. SS Zack Cozart was having a break out season before he would also be injured in June. Marlon Byrd and Billy Hamilton, both outfielders, have both struggled at bat for most of the season, so bad that Hamilton bats ninth in the line-up.
But not everything has been doom and gloom for the Cincinnati Reds. 1B Joey Votto has bounced back after an awful and injury plagued 2o14 season. 2B Brandon Phillips is still one of the best defensive players in the MLB and 3B Todd Frazier, who just won this year’s Home Run Derby, is the new face of the franchise and is under Reds control for a few more seasons. Plus there is Aroldis Chapman, the flame throwing relief pitcher, he and Frazier represented Cincinnati in the All-Star Game this season. Depending on how well the Cincinnati Reds rebuid, they could be back in contention very quickly, if not they could find themselves in the basement of a division that has the powerhouse St. Louis Cardinals and two revitalized teams, the Pirates and Cubs.
As for the Kansas City Royals, getting Cueto will no doubt solidify them as American League contenders. The Royals are almost a lock to win the AL Central, adding Cueto just more reinforces the idea that if the Minnesota Twins are going to make the postseason, they will have to enter as a wild card. The Royals will play October ball and might still be looking to buy some more pieces for the team before Friday’s trade deadline. The Reds though, they are likely to sell a lot more pieces before the end of the week.