Ex KC Royals pitcher Johnny Cueto felt insulted by his former team’s failure to invite him along for their visit to the White House on Thursday.
After his start against the New York Yankees on Saturday night, Cueto told ESPN.com reporters through a translator:
"“I believe that I earned it,” he said of the White House trip, speaking through a translator after his start Saturday against the New York Yankees. “I was on the team. I did something for the team for them to win the World Series, so I was expecting it.”"
Johnny Cueto, who is enjoying an outstanding season for the San Francisco Giants after signing a $130 million deal last winter, did admit that he didn’t talk to anyone in the Kansas City Royals front office about the trip. I presume he thinks he shouldn’t have had to ask after throwing a pair of two hitters in key post-season games against the Houston Astros in the American League Division Series and the New York Mets in the World Series.
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Overall, Cueto went 4-7, with a 4.76 ERA after joining the KC Royals July 26 in a deadline deal between the eventual World Champions and the Cincinnati Reds. He saved his best for the playoffs, where his pair of two-hitters were two of the three best playoff performances in Kansas City Royals history. Though his 5.40 ERA in four playoff starts with the Kansas City Royals doesn’t look all that impressive in the stat line, he got the job done when it counted.
In particular, Cueto shut down the the Astros in the deciding game 5 of the ALCS to stave off elimination.
The KC Royals wish they had Cueto this season. In his first year with the Giants after signing his mammoth six-year, $130 million deal, Cueto is an outstanding 13-2 with a 2.64 ERA and a 7.9 K/9. Cueto earned his second All-Star bid and started for the National League.
Cueto isn’t the only mid-season addition unhappy that they didn’t receive a White House invite. Jonny Gomes also feels slighted by the KC Royals failure to include him on the trip. In fact, Gomes told Sports Illustrated that the snub was:
"“probably the worst news of my professional baseball career”"
Ben Zobrist, another mid-season acquisition who is now playing for the Chicago Cubs also didn’t get an invite, but has not made a statement about the Kansas City Royals failure to include him.
The KC Royals told local media that the White House limited the number of people they could include on the trip, and made an internal decision to restrict invites to players who were on the roster the entire 2015 season. Presumably, that allowed more administrative personnel to attend.