Our friends at Friars on Base talked to us about what the Kansas City Royals stand to gain out of this week’s deal as the deadline approaches.
If you’ve been vacationing under a rock over the last few days, the Kansas City Royals and San Diego Padres struck a deal which may—MAY—alter the race in the AL Central. In exchange for Esteury Ruiz, Matt Strahm and the completely rancid Travis Wood (good luck there Padres fans), the Royals got Trevor Cahill, Ryan Buchter and Brandon Maurer.
We’ve discussed this trade at length on our site, but we wanted a perspective from the Padres end, and they wanted ours regarding Ruiz, Strahm and Wood. Friars on Base got five questions, we got five questions; their five are over here. Ours are below.
1. How confident should Kansas City Royals fans be in Trevor Cahill? He’s been good, he’s eaten innings… and yet… are we suckers for trusting him?
FOB: If Royals fans are trusting Cahill to be some sort of rotation savior, they have far to high of expectations. However, if they expect him to be an asset in the bullpen and make an occasional spot start when needed, that’s more like it. Cahill can be a valuable contributor, but he’s inconsistent, especially when starting games. The Royals shouldn’t trust him in critical situations, but can use him exactly as you described him, as a solid inning eater.
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2. Is AJ Preller a diabolical genius or is he as loony as the baseball world seems to think?
FOB: That’s the million dollar question. Depending on who you ask, you’re going to get a different answer, since Padres fans are very split on Preller. Personally, I like the term diabolical genius to describe him. Seeing what he pulled off this offseason to add veterans to the rotation on cheap, one-year contracts, he’s got a way of making even a rebuilding year drama filled. Most of all though, I’m impressed with Preller’s foresight to this particular deadline. The reason he signed Cahill, Weaver, Chacin, and Richard was to trade them at the deadline and acquire prospects for the rebuild. Signing veterans to get prospects is pretty genius in my opinion.
3. 5.72 ERA for Brandon Maurer… how worried should we be about that?
FOB: Worried, but don’t give up on him. He’s going to come right at hitters, so hits and runs are inevitable. Without an electric fastball or really nasty offspeed stuff, Maurer isn’t your typical closer. That’s why I think the Royals should move him to the seventh or eighth, and keep Herrera in the ninth. Maurer is valuable, no doubt, but don’t shake up your entire bullpen for him. And use him at your own risk, as his inflated ERA speaks for itself.
4. Buchter’s splits are fantastic. Describe how the Padres elected to use him out of the pen.
FOB: Ryan Buchter was an extremely valuable member of San Diego’s bullpen. Even though Maurer and Cahill may be the bigger names, I think the Padres will actually miss Buchter the most. He’s reliable and versatile, as his splits can attest to. He’s a southpaw relief pitcher, a real commodity in baseball today, but he’s not just for matching up against lefties like many are. Buchter has pitched just shy of a complete inning for each appearance, as he goes one inning the vast majority of the time. The best part about Buchter though is that it doesn’t matter what inning he’s sent out for. The seventh is probably his best fit, and since Kansas City has a much stronger ‘pen than San Diego, they may have the flexibility to use him for individual matchups. But that doesn’t mean Buchter can’t fit multiple roles. He’s finished five games this season and even has a save. Buchter is so much more than his 3.05 ERA, and the Royals were very wise to pursue him in this trade.
5. What do you think the plan is in regards to what you got from us? We were big advocates for firing Travis Wood into the sun, but wondered if you had other thoughts.
FOB: I see what you mean about Wood, but veteran pitching is too precious to the Padres to not keep him around. San Diego will definitely like how they can either put him in the bullpen or the rotation, but my guess would be that he stays in the ‘pen. Strahm is the most intriguing piece here, as he has already developed, but there’s questions about his health of course as well as how effective he can be. Next season he will be in the mix, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up in our rotation. Ruiz, of course, is what the Padres really got in this trade, and we certainly don’t mind having another middle infield prospect in the system.