Last year, when the Kansas City Royals made one of the most miraculous runs in any postseason and came 90 feet away from tying Game 7 of the World Series (and a herculean effort by Madison Bumgarner), one wondered if there is anything else that the Royals can do for a possible encore this season.
Well, it may have just happened, as not only the Royals have had one of the best records in baseball, but on Sunday, general manager Dayton Moore pulled the trigger on Cincinnati Red’s ace Johnny Cueto for three minor league lefties.
The trade gives the Royals their first true ace since Zack Greinke (even if Cueto will only be a two-month rental, as it is sure bet that he will sign for greener pastures this offseason). They now have a guy they can hand the ball to Game 1 of the World Series.
Now, we have seen Moore make the type of deals that were for the good of the franchise, as well as the bottom-line to keep the club’s finances in check. For example, see the extensions that Salvador Perez and Yordano Ventura agreed to, and the deal in getting James Shields and Wade Davis, a trade that we now know was a major victory for the team.
But this was new and different. Did anyone know what the Royals were going to do at this trade deadline because, quite simply, they had not been in this position before?
Never before in the Moore era had Kansas City been the best team in the American League, or even well above .500 at this point in the season. However, there are some cracks that needed to be addressed in the rotation, for outside of Edinson Volquez, there were question marks surrounding each starter in the rotation. With one fell swoop, Moore closed that crack in getting one of the top 5 pitchers in baseball today.
With the deadline only a few days away, you have to believe that the Royals, and Moore, are not done yet. Even with landing a true ace, Kansas City kept a majority of its top prospects in the process. The Royals could use some bigger bats like Ben Zobrist or a Justin Upton to shore up the lineup, so do not be surprised if they will be “kicking the tires” (especially have the Blue Jays getting Troy Tulowitzski, which may have upped the ante a little bit).
It’s time to accept this franchise has done a lot of growing up since once being considered the punching bag for the rest of Major League Baseball, and Sunday, we witnessed Dayton Moore’s master stoke, and the feel-good story of 2014, may just continue on for quite some time.