Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
One of the pieces that the Kansas City Royals were considered to be missing to truly contend for the World Series was a top of the rotation starter. When Dayton Moore pulled the trigger to acquire Johnny Cueto, it was generally felt that he was that final piece, the starter that the Royals could use to match up against any possible ace they would run up against.
Cueto hardly lived up to his end of the bargain during the regular season. Instead of being the ace the Royals expected, he struggled to a 4-7 record, posting a 4.76 ERA and a 1.451 WHiP. While his control remained excellent, Cueto’s strikeout rate dropped from 8.3 K/9 in Cincinnati to 6.2 K/9 with the Royals. The Royals expected far more than that performance.
His overall numbers for the 2015 season, an 11-13 record with a 3.44 ERA and a 1.132 WHiP, are certainly solid, but they are not at the same caliber of performance that Cueto had put together in the past. Those struggles with the Royals may give an American League team reason to second guess whether or not he can perform at a top level outside of the National League.
Even though Cueto had his moments in the postseason, such as his two hit complete game in Game Two of the World Series, his generally inconsistent performance in Kansas City became a cause for concern. His projected contract in free agency is considered to have taken a hit, but Cueto is still one of the top three starters available in free agency.
However, that inconsistency, along with his expected price tag, are enough where the Royals are not interested in bringing Cueto back. If the Royals are going to break the bank to retain one of their players, it will not be here.
Odds that Johnny Cueto returns to the Kansas City Royals: 0.0%
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