4. Royals acquire Johnny Cueto, July 26, 2015; Ben Zobrist, July 28, 2015
Sometimes one trade at the deadline is enough to push a team to greater heights. But two trades are sometimes better than one.
After coming up one win short of a World Championship in a surprise AL pennant winning season in 2014, the Kansas City Royals left nothing to chance in 2015. The first big move of the trade deadline occurred when general manager Dayton Moore and the Royals brain trust acquired ace Johnny Cueto from the Cincinnati Royals on July 26. Two days later, Kansas City sprang for star utilityman Ben Zobrist from the Oakland Athletics.
The Royals sent Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb and Cody Reed to the Reds in exchange for Cueto, a hefty price for an impending free agent. The early returns weren’t that great for K.C., either, as Cueto struggled to a 4.76 ERA and 4.06 FIP in 13 regular season starts. However, the right-hander fared much better in the playoffs, and earned his first postseason win against the Astros in the ALDS, and was lights out in his only World Series start against the Mets, allowing a single run on two hits and three walks in a complete game effort in Game 2.
Zobrist hit ,284/.364/.453 with seven home runs, 23 RBI and 37 runs scored in 59 games with the Royals, and plated second base, third base, left field and right field for the club. He was outstanding at the plate in the postseason, collecting 20 hits in 16 games, including two home runs and eight doubles. Zobrist scored 15 runs in the postseason, including five in the World Series.