Johnny Cueto hasn’t officially joined the Royals yet, but the ace’s presence is already being felt. Cueto, acquired Sunday in a trade with Cincinnati, will meet his new teammates for the first time Tuesday and make his debut for Kansas City on Friday in Toronto. The Royals sent left-handers Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb and Cody Reed to the Reds for Cueto, who won 20 games last season and will instantly move to the top of Kansas City’s rotation. ”It gives you a little boost,” manager Ned Yost said before the Royals opened a three-game series with the Indians. ”It gives you a guy that you can anchor your rotation with, a proven No. 1 guy.
Those kind of guys tend to make everyone in the rotation better. ”That’s going to help a lot. We’re excited to get him. It gives us a much stronger, better team.” Although they have the AL’s best record, the Royals’ starting pitching has been suspect, which is why they made the move for Cueto, who is 7-6 with a 2.62 ERA in 19 starts this season. Kansas City’s starters have underachieved and been hurt by injuries. They lost lefty Jason Vargas for the season due with an elbow injury last week. Kansas City’s starters are also last in the league in innings pitched, and the Royals believe Cueto can eat up some innings and ease the pressure on their excellent bullpen.
Yost said Cueto was still getting his personal business in order and the Royals didn’t want to rush him to Cleveland. ”We talked to Johnny and Johnny’s still trying to get his stuff together,” Yost said. ”He’ll be here tomorrow. The best thing to do is give him an extra day. His regular fifth day is Thursday, but he’s going to pitch Friday. That will get him right in line with us.” Reliever Franklin Morales will give his No. 47 to Cueto, his number with the Reds. Morales will switch to No. 45 when Cueto arrives.