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Johnny Cueto traded to Kansas City Royals

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The reigning AL champs get their ace.

Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

The on-again, off-again saga of the Kansas City Royals' pursuit of Cincinnati Reds ace Johnny Cueto appears to have reached an end.

Johnny Cueto is going to be a Royal after all.

News broke late Saturday evening that the Reds and Royals had nearly struck a deal, and the news even traveled all the way to the visiting bullpen in Coors Field where Cueto was warming up for his scheduled start against the Colorado Rockies.  That PR fiasco was slightly averted when the deal fell through due to the medicals on one of the prospects Kansas City was set to include, but fortunately for both sides, the depth in the KC farm system is such that it appears the Reds were able to find another suitable, high-caliber prospect in which they had significant interest.

Be it Sean Manaea or Kyle Zimmer - or even Brandon Finnegan - it does appear that the headline prospect Cincinnati will receive in return will be a pitcher, but that doesn't seem to be their lone return.  Rumors have swirled that Bubba Starling may also be part of the deal, in which case the Reds would be adding a long-promising OF to the return.

Johnny Cueto has been the best pitcher I've ever had the chance to see wear the Cincinnati uniform, and he'll end his tenure with the Redlegs on a high note, his eight dominant innings in Denver on Saturday a testament to the kind of arsenal he possesses in his elite right arm.  He'll finish 92-63 with a 3.21 ERA, 1115 Ks, and a 1.17 WHIP in 1339 IP, all of which was good enough to be worth 25.1 bWAR in his 8 seasons with the Reds.

Thanks for a hell of a run, Johnny.  We'll have more details as they come.

UPDATE (3:00 PM EDT):

Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb, and Cody Reed are the return.

I'm excited.