San Diego Padres: Five questions with Kings of Kauffman

KANSAS CITY, MO - APRIL 30: Pitcher Matt Strahm
KANSAS CITY, MO - APRIL 30: Pitcher Matt Strahm /

In the wake of a major six player deadline deal between the San Diego Padres and the Kansas City Royals, Friars on Base discusses the trade with Kings of Kauffman.

The trade which sent Trevor Cahill, Ryan Buchter, and Brandon Maurer to the Royals has been getting a lot of attention lately. The move made sense for both clubs, as Kansas City currently sits 1.5 games back of the AL Central lead and holds the second American League Wild Card, and could use a little bit of extra pitching that the Padres could provide.

In exchange, San Diego acquired Travis Wood, Matt Strahm, and 18-year-old infield prospect Esteury Ruiz.

With a trade of this magnitude, we caught up with Kings of Kauffman, the FanSided site devoted to the Kansas City Royals. They were able to provide some deeper insight into this trade by answering five questions we had.

Q1: How surprising is it that the Royals would give up Travis Wood, a veteran pitcher, as a part of a deal to acquire other veteran arms?

KOK: Not very surprising at all. Wood has struggled all season but turned into a disaster when pressed into service as a starter. The need was there for a starter, and eating most of Wood’s deal was the cost of doing business.

Q2: In your opinion, can Matt Strahm fully recover from his knee surgery and remain a valuable contributor to a pitching staff?

KOK: Strahm was a tough loss. He’d had some early year struggles, got sent back down and when he came back, he was really excellent. He allowed only three earned in 11 May appearances. He’s had some control issues he’ll need to work through but at worst I think he’s a quality long man with a chance to be a mid-rotation piece.

Q3: How much upside is there with Esteury Ruiz?

KOK: Tons. He’s hitting above .400 in Arizona and leads the league in total bases. Anybody with one high-level skill has better than a puncher’s chance at success and Ruiz has game-changing speed. I don’t see him being a gold glover up the middle but he won’t kill a team either. Strahm may have gotten the ink on your end, but there’s a non-zero chance Ruiz winds up the better player in the deal. There is a zero percent chance I say that about Travis Wood.

Q4: How much did Cahill’s manageable contract contribute to Kansas City’s decision to pull the trigger on this deal?

KOK: I wouldn’t say it was the biggest factor, but it probably helped. Cahill’s been good, but there’s still risk. Just last year, a terrible Braves team cut bait with Cahill because he was just awful. Cubs picked him up and he became useful out of the pen, then he went back to being an innings-eater for you guys. So to get a high-risk, high-reward guy on an extremely manageable contract–with the knowledge that if it doesn’t work out, there are other options in the system and on the market if necessary–can’t be overlooked.

Q5: Ultimately, do the three hurlers the Royals acquired put the club in better position to contend for the AL Central crown or AL Wild Card?

KOK: We spent a lot of time on Cahill earlier but the key–I think–were the arms in the pen. Maurer allows the Royals to move Soria out of high-leverage situations and into a more middle-relief role. Buchter is another useful arm and you can never have too many of those. Contention? Probably. The Royals problems go beyond pitching–if anything, the starters have been the rock of the team. But the AL Central is terrible and everyone except the A’s and White Sox still have good odds at the Wild Card. But the arms are nice to have and bolstering a bullpen goes a long way toward helping your chances in October.

Next: Lloyd's debut shows organizational pitching depth

We would like to thank Kings of Kauffman for discussing this trade with us! Their site has also covered this deal extensively, from the perspective of a Royals fan.