After scrambling back into contention in the AL Central, the Kansas City Royals are preparing to make another bid for a postseason spot.
The Royals acquired three pitchers from the San Diego Padres on Monday, getting starter Trevor Cahill, closer Brandon Maurer and reliever Ryan Buchter. Kansas City sent pitchers Matt Strahm and Travis Wood, minor league infielder Esteury Ruiz, and some cash to San Diego. The deal came one week before the nonwaiver trade deadline.
Kansas City entered Monday night’s game at Detroit trailing first-place Cleveland by only 1 + games, and the Royals are also right in the mix for a wild card.
“We wanted to move sooner than later,” general manager Dayton Moore said.
The Royals had been looking to boost their rotation and bullpen, and were luckily able to do it with one swap. Cahill was 4-3 with a 3.69 ERA in 11 starts for the Padres. The 29-year-old right-hander was an All-Star with Oakland in 2010.
Maurer is 20-for-23 on save tries, and 1-4 with a 5.72 ERA. The 27-year-old righty began his big league career with Seattle in 2013 as a starter.
Buchter is 3-3 with one save and a 3.05 ERA in 42 games. The 30-year-old lefty pitched 67 times for the Padres in 2016.
Kansas City won the World Series in 2015 and the American League pennant the year before that. The Royals fell back to .500 last year, and after they went 7-16 this April, it looked like 2017 might be the end of their chance to contend with this core of players. Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar and Lorenzo Cain can all become free agents after this season.
The Royals are back over .500 now, though, and they entered Monday on a five-game winning streak.
“We’re very excited. We’ve always felt good about this team,” Moore said. “We’re certainly very much in the thick of a pennant race in our division.”