On Monday, July 24, the Kansas City Royals acquired right-handed pitchers Trevor Cahill and Brandon Maurer and left-handed pitcher Ryan Buchter from San Diego for left-handed pitchers Matt Strahm and Travis Wood and infielder Esteury Ruiz. With the Royals playing much better of late and only a few games out of the playoffs, they needed cheap pitching help and they got it.
Trevor Cahill has pitched very well this season for the Padres, making 11 starts with a 3.69 ERA and a 3.39 FIP in 61 innings. His solid pitching goes back to midway through the 2015 season and had sub-3.00 ERAs in a relief role for the Cubs in 2016 and after he was acquired by them in 2015. He is a free agent at the end of the season and should give the Royals a nice boost in their rotation. Ryan Buchter has developed as a nice lefty specialist out of the bullpen, with 38.1 innings pitched in 42 appearances this season. He has a 3.05 ERA and has now put together two consecutive solid seasons as a reliever. He is under team control for each of the next four seasons and is a great pickup for the Royals with the potential for them to trade him in the future. Brandon Maurer was included in this trade, perhaps as a thrown-in piece, or because the Royals feel they can help him find his groove again. He has not pitched well this season as the Padres’ closer and has a 5.72 ERA in 42 appearances. He does, however, have a 3.22 FIP and is likely to see his ERA lower with a better defense behind him in Kansas City.
In return, got a package that include Travis Wood, who isn’t pitching well at all this season, and Matt Strahm, who is on the 60 day DL and will likely miss the rest of the season with knee surgery. Strahm could certainly develop into a starting pitcher for the Padres and has performed very well in the minors as a starter. I think that the biggest piece going back to San Diego is Esteury Ruiz, an 18 year old infielder currently at the Rookie Level. He is hitting very well so far this season, with a .404/.432/.753 slashline in 22 games.
I think that this trade was smart for both sides, as the Royals get help in the rotation and in the bullpen and it didn’t cost very much. This was smart because it is their last run with their current roster group and they don’t have a strong farm system from which to trade. I think that this trade was especially smart of the Padres to take advantage of the good season by Cahill to get a young prospect like Ruiz. If he keeps hitting in the upper levels like he is in rookie ball, he will likely become a good prospect for the Padres.