Right-hander Johnny Cueto is scheduled to make his Royals debut Friday against the Blue Jays in Toronto after being acquired from the Reds in exchange for minor leaguers Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb, and Cody Reed.
Cueto made his final start for the Reds on Saturday, shutting out the Rockies for eight innings at Coors Field, so his first start for the Royals will come on one extra day of rest than normal.
Cueto has a 2.62 ERA and 120/29 K/BB ratio in 131 innings this season, posting a sub-3.00 ERA for the fifth straight year. Among all pitchers with at least 100 starts since 2011 only Clayton Kershaw has a lower ERA than Cueto’s mark of 2.51.
As for who’s leaving the Royals’ rotation to make room for Cueto’s arrival, manager Ned Yost says he’s not sure yet if it’ll be Jeremy Guthrie or Chris Young.
Former Yankees closer Mariano Rivera deservingly became the first player ever inducted into the Hall of Fame unanimously, receiving votes from all 425 writers who submitted ballots. Previously, the closest players to unanimous induction were Ken Griffey, Jr. (99.32% in 2016), Tom Seaver (98.84% in 1992), Nolan Ryan (98.79% in 1999), Cal Ripken, Jr. (98.53%), Ty Cobb (98.23% in 1936), and George Brett (98.19% in 1999).
Because so many greats were not enshrined in Cooperstown unanimously, many voters in the past argued against other players getting inducted unanimously, withholding their votes for otherwise deserving players. That Griffey — both one of the greatest outfielders of all time and one of the most popular players of all time — wasn’t voted in unanimously in 2016, for example, seemed to signal that no player ever would. Now that Rivera has been, this tired argument about voting unanimity can be laid to rest.
Derek Jeter will appear on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time next year. He may become the second player ever to be elected unanimously. David Ortiz appears on the 2022 ballot and could be No. 3. Now that Rivera has broken through, these are possibilities whereas before they might not have been.
Another tired argument around Hall of Fame voting concerns whether or not a player is a “first ballot” Hall of Famer. Some voters think getting enshrined in a player’s first year of eligibility is a greater honor than getting in any subsequent year. I’m not sure what it will take to get rid of this argument — other than the electorate getting younger and more open-minded — but at least we have made progress on at least one bad Hall of Fame take.