Opinion

Andy McCullough shares insight about Vargas, Ventura and trade deadline on ESPN podcast

Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Jason Vargas was in pain after throwing a pitch Tuesday night.
Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Jason Vargas was in pain after throwing a pitch Tuesday night. JSLEEZER@KCSTAR.COM

The Star’s Andy McCullough joined ESPN’s Buster Olney on his Baseball Tonight podcast today.

Here is some of the Royals insight he shared.

On Jason Vargas’ latest injury:

“There’s always the threat of Tommy John … even if this is only a two-week thing, a three-week thing, this is the third time now where he’s gone down. It’s going to be hard for them to count on him to come back and be effective.”

Why Yordano Ventura was sent down to Class AAA Omaha:

“They had six starting pitchers and he was the least effective of the six. … Ventura’s the guy who was leg-kicking and swaggering through game six of the World Series last year and all of a sudden he’s pouting on the mound, slumping his shoulders and doesn’t believe in his stuff. … They want him to go and have some success and come back and be helpful.

“It’s still unclear how they’ll handle Vargas going down. But if they stick with their plan … he’ll be down there for at least 10 days to get a couple starts and get his feet back under him.”

More on Ventura’s demotion:

“It definitely does get your attention when they give you $23 million at the beginning of the season, they name you the opening day starter, and I think it sends a message to the club that hey, this is about performance.

“It’s not about what we thought you were going to be, it’s not about what we’re paying you, it’s not about what we think you can be. It’s about who can help us win today. To me, that is what winning clubs do all the time. … Kudos to the Royals for being able to pull the trigger on it.”

How the Royals will handle the trade deadline:

“They’ve had conversations with Cincinnati about Johnny Cueto. He makes a ton of sense even with some injury risk. If and when David Price is put on the market, I think the Royals have to really look long and hard about that. Again, you’re going to have to give up a lot for David Price and I wonder if the Royals will be willing to pull the trigger on a deal like that …

“They would most likely be looking at that middle tier of pitchers … the Mike Leakes, the Dan Harens, the Arron Harangs. … If you want to make a blockbuster deal and you’re the Royals, really at this point you’ve got one mega prospect in Raul Mondesi, who they do not want to trade, and then teams will be asking about Danny Duffy and Yordano Ventura, and I’m not sure they want to give up on those guys. … I’m not sure they want to give up four years of Yordano Ventura for eight starts from David Price.”

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