Johnny Cueto has been with the Kansas City Royals for all of two starts, but one can already sense that he is fitting in well with his new team. The Royals, who are considered an excitable, emotional ballclub, appear to be the perfect fit for Cueto, who brings his own level of passion for baseball with him. His little gyrations during his windup, and his previous reputation for being an excitable player himself, would fit well with the Royals brashness and confidence.
While Cueto may have calmed down since those early years, there is still a bit of that element to his game. Now, with the Royals, fans may get to see that a bit more than they had over his past few years in Cincinnati. Potentially invigorated by a playoff chase, and the possibility of being able to front a starting rotation in the postseason, Cueto may feel more like himself.
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Perhaps a sign of that came during last night’s game. During an at bat against Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler, Cueto used four different windups. While there may be a bit of gamesmanship, just in terms of giving Kinsler something different to look at each time, it could also be a sign of how comfortable Cueto is starting to become in the Kansas City Royals clubhouse.
When different moves are made at the trade deadline, there is the understandable concern about how those moves will affect clubhouse chemistry. On a team like the Royals, that chemistry is a major part of their success, helping make their focus on contact and defense work to perfection. It is an atmosphere that is truly about the team, a delicate balance that can be upset with the wrong addition.
While Cueto and Ben Zobrist may have been two of the top trade targets this year, they also seem to fit well into the Royals clubhouse. Zobrist, having spent much of his career with the Rays, certainly knows how important chemistry is to a winning environment and has fit in well with the Royals. Cueto, meanwhile, seemingly has a team where he fits in perfectly amongst players like Lorenzo Cain, Yordano Ventura and Salvador Perez.
Johnny Cueto came to the Kansas City Royals in the hopes that he could lead them to a World Series title. Along the way, Cueto may have also found the perfect fit for himself.