The Royals have acquired right-hander Johnny Cueto from the Reds, as first reported by Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. Cincinnati will acquire left-handers Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb and Cody Reed, according to a team announcement.
Today's news comes after the sides scuttled a deal last night before Cueto's start in Colorado and re-negotiated until reaching agreement this morning. Left-hander Sean Manaea was rumored to be involved in talks, though he will remain with the Royals' organization.
Kansas City has been on the lookout for pitching all summer, with Cueto, Scott Kazmir, Yovani Gallardo, Mike Leake, and Jeff Samardzija among the options they considered. The team made Cueto its top target early in July and negotiated until today, when a final deal sending three southpaws to Cincinnati was executed.
Cueto, 29, is 7-6 with a 2.62 ERA in nineteen starts for the Reds this year and will be a free agent at the end of the season. He drew significant interest from the Astros, Blue Jays, Yankees and Dodgers before winding up with the Royals, who will add him to a rotation group of Edinson Volquez, Chris Young, Danny Duffy, Jeremy Guthrie and Yordano Ventura. Cueto was one of the main prizes available on this year's trade market, along with Phillies' ace Cole Hamels and Tigers' southpaw David Price.
Finnegan, 22, is the prize of the Reds' return for Cueto. The southpaw was a first-round pick last season before reaching the majors with the Royals late in the season, and has posted a 2.59 ERA in 31.1 major-league innings over his first two professional seasons. Cincinnati may view Finnegan as a starter and have him take Cueto's place in the rotation, as he projects to many as a long-term big-league starter despite his success in the bullpen last season. He was ranked by Baseball America as the team's second-best prospect heading into this season.
Lamb, 25, was previously ranked as a top-20 prospect in all of baseball after being selected by Kansas City in the fifth round of the 2008 draft. He struggled mightily through the upper levels of the minors before posting a solid 2.67 ERA in seventeen starts with Triple-A Omaha so far this season, and looks to be regaining some of the potential that made him a top prospect back in 2011.
Reed, 22, was Kansas City's second-rounder in 2013 and was ranked by MLB.com as the organization's 26th-best prospect at the time of the trade. He has posted a 7-7 record and 2.53 ERA in eighteen appearances (fifteen starts) split between High-A Wilmington and Double-A Northern Arkansas this season, and is regarded for his high ceiling and devastating slider.
In adding Cueto, the Royals added a legitimate ace to a championship-caliber ballclub while only dealing one piece (Finnegan) who is expected to be a surefire major-league contributor. Cincinnati added three high-ceiling arms in Finnegan, Lamb and Reed, revitalizing its minor-league system by trading a player who was expected to go elsewhere in free agency at the end of the season.