MLB.com Columnist

Jim Duquette

Duquette: Three biggest Deadline winners

Duquette: Three biggest Deadline winners

While the actual Deadline day didn't feature many high-profile moves, the last week has been filled with them. Now that the dust has settled, here are the three clubs that I think improved the most as a result of Trade Deadline deals.

Blue Jays:

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Jim Duquette is an analyst for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cueto posts quality start in Royals debut

New acquisition strikes out seven, allows three runs over six innings

Cueto posts quality start in Royals debut

TORONTO -- The much-anticipated Royals debut of Johnny Cueto seemed to be following the perfect script. Cueto delivered a quality start against a tough Toronto team on Friday night and had a 6-3 lead after six innings.

But the Royals' normally stalwart bullpen surrendered the lead -- Ryan Madson gave up all three runs in the seventh -- and the Blue Jays won it in 11 innings, 7-6.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals lose late lead, fall on walk-off in 11th

Royals lose late lead, fall on walk-off in 11th

TORONTO -- Josh Donaldson hit a walk-off single in the 11th inning to send the Blue Jays to a 7-6 victory over the Royals on Friday night at Rogers Centre.

Donaldson's third hit of the night scored Troy Tulowitzki from second and came off left-hander Franklin Morales. The rally in the 11th inning began with a one-out single by Tulowitzki, who later advanced to second when a balk was called on Morales. Donaldson finished 3-for-5 with a walk, four RBIs and a run scored.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Morales' heads-up slide gives Zobrist 2 RBIs

Royals designated hitter comes up short of plate, slips foot past Martin for run

Morales' heads-up slide gives Zobrist 2 RBIs

TORONTO -- Ben Zobrist's first hit with the Royals in the first inning of Friday's 7-6 loss to the Blue Jays was rather eyebrow-raising.

The hit itself was rather ordinary -- just a single to right field. But it was what happened after the base hit that startled everyone watching.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals' additions bolster rotation, versatility

Cueto, Zobrist support Kansas City's roster for postseason push

Royals' additions bolster rotation, versatility

TORONTO -- The Royals, under general manager Dayton Moore, have not been a team prone to making splashy moves before the non-waiver Trade Deadline.

That all changed this time around when Moore and his staff pulled the trigger and acquired right-hander Johnny Cueto, one of the biggest names on the trading block, as well as super-utility player Ben Zobrist, whom the Royals have admired for some time.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Young heads to 'pen; Guthrie stays in rotation

Young heads to 'pen; Guthrie stays in rotation

TORONTO -- Right-hander Chris Young has been sent to the bullpen and struggling right-hander Jeremy Guthrie will keep his spot in the rotation, Royals manager Ned Yost said on Friday.

Kansas City will, however, skip the fifth spot in the rotation on this turn because of an off-day Monday.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals rocked by powerful Jays' bats in loss

Royals rocked by powerful Jays' bats in loss

TORONTO -- Dioner Navarro, Russell Martin and Josh Donaldson each homered while right-hander Marco Estrada tossed 5 2/3 strong innings in the Blue Jays' 5-2 victory over the Royals on Thursday night at Rogers Centre.

All three home runs were charged to Kansas City left-hander Danny Duffy, who allowed five runs on six hits and four walks over six innings. It was the first time Duffy surrendered more than four runs since May 11 and it broke a string of four consecutive quality starts.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Duffy disappointed with results against Jays

Duffy disappointed with results against Jays

TORONTO -- This was an especially confusing night for Royals starter Danny Duffy. He felt good in the bullpen before Thursday night's game and he felt strong on the mound during the game.

But the results just weren't there. Duffy gave up five runs, including three no-doubt homers, in six innings in a 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gordon takes first swings off tee since injury

Gordon takes first swings off tee since injury

TORONTO -- Royals left fielder Alex Gordon, on the disabled list because of a Grade 2-plus left groin strain, swung a bat on Thursday for the first time since the injury on July 8.

Gordon hit balls off the tee prior to the opener of a four-game series against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals welcome Zobrist, option Orlando

Royals welcome Zobrist, option Orlando

TORONTO -- Newly acquired Ben Zobrist showed up at Rogers Centre on Thursday, greeted his new Royals teammates, and donned his familiar No. 18 -- the price tag from first-base coach Rusty Kuntz for giving up his jersey will be a leaf blower.

Last year, Kuntz raked in a snow blower from Raul Ibanez for giving up No. 18.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hosmer takes foul ball away from Blue Jays fan

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Hosmer takes foul ball away from Blue Jays fan

Eric Hosmer is a Major League Baseball player. His job is to hit baseballs, field ground balls, scoop throws at first base and catch pop-ups. Below is a GIF of Eric Hosmer doing the latter during Thursday's Royals-Blue Jays game.

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Decision between Guthrie, Young looms for Royals

Decision between Guthrie, Young looms for Royals

CLEVELAND -- At some point, Royals manager Ned Yost will have to decide between Jeremy Guthrie or Chris Young for the fifth and final spot in the rotation.

Though Yost could skip the No. 5 spot because of Monday's off-day, he said he still will make the decision by next Tuesday.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Guthrie, Royals can't finish sweep

Guthrie, Royals can't finish sweep

CLEVELAND -- The Indians unleashed a week of pent-up offensive frustration upon the Kansas City Royals with a season-high 18 hits and four home runs in a 12-1 win on Wednesday afternoon at Progressive Field.

The outburst could also be viewed as a release stemming from an inability to score with Corey Kluber on the mound this season. Kluber entered the contest receiving a Major League-low 2.41 runs per game. Wednesday was just the fourth time in 22 starts that Kluber received more than four runs of support. He more than did his part, too, holding the Royals to a ninth-inning run in his second complete game of the season and the fifth of his career. He struck out six and walked one, allowing just five hits.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB and listen to his podcast. August Fagerstrom is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals send Blanton to Pirates for cash considerations

Royals send Blanton to Pirates for cash considerations

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates picked up veteran right-hander Joe Blanton late Wednesday night, acquiring him from the Royals in exchange for cash considerations.

Blanton, 34, is expected to join the Pirates before Thursday night's series opener against the Reds at Great American Ball Park. Pittsburgh will make a corresponding move after Blanton officially joins the roster.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Despite Zobrist trade, Yost happy with Infante at 2B

Despite Zobrist trade, Yost happy with Infante at 2B

CLEVELAND -- When newcomer Ben Zobrist joins the Royals in Toronto on Thursday, he is slated to take over in left field for now, filling in for the injured Alex Gordon.

But if Gordon comes back in early September, there has been an assumption by some fans that Zobrist would then replace Omar Infante at second base.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals marvel at Infante-Escobar flip play

Royals marvel at Infante-Escobar flip play

CLEVELAND -- Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas couldn't quite decide which play he enjoyed more: The Eric Hosmer snag of a hot grounder by Michael Brantley to save a run in the seventh, or the circus-act Omar Infante /Alcides Escobar play to get the first out in the ninth of the Royals' 2-1 win on Tuesday night over the Indians.

"Based solely on degree of sickness," Moustakas said, "probably the Omar/Esky play."

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hosmer continues to feast on Indians pitching

Hosmer continues to feast on Indians pitching

CLEVELAND -- Royals manager Ned Yost has no explanation for why Eric Hosmer wears out the Indians.

"I don't know. Go ask him," Yost said, shrugging his shoulders after Hosmer had three more hits, a go-ahead homer and two RBIs in Kansas City's 2-1 win over Cleveland on Tuesday night.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hosmer's homer in ninth helps Royals sink Tribe

Hosmer's homer in ninth helps Royals sink Tribe

CLEVELAND -- Eric Hosmer hit a go-ahead home run in the ninth inning off Indians starter Trevor Bauer as the Royals secured a 2-1 victory on Tuesday night at Progressive Field.

The homer spoiled an otherwise impressive night for Bauer (8-8, 4.13 ERA), who threw the first complete game of his career. The 24-year-old right-hander allowed two earned runs on five hits and one walk, striking out six.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. August Fagerstrom is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cueto appreciates regal welcome from Royals

Cueto appreciates regal welcome from Royals

CLEVELAND -- When newly acquired right-hander Johnny Cueto drove here from Cincinnati on Tuesday morning and arrived at the Royals' team hotel, there was a welcoming committee of players and staffers waiting for him.

And that clearly impressed Cueto, who was given a crown to wear, and he quickly tweeted out a picture of that image.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bubba's 9th-inning single caps cycle for Naturals

Royals No. 5 prospect is the first to accomplish the feat in Double-A Northwest Arkansas history

Bubba's 9th-inning single caps cycle for Naturals

Bubba Starling saved the easiest for last, hitting a single to complete the cycle in the top of the ninth inning of Double-A Northwest Arkansas' 10-4 win over Arkansas.

No. 5 on Kansas City's newly updated Top 30 Prospects list, Starling finished 4-for-5 with three RBIs after rocking a three-run homer in the third inning, doubling in the fifth, tripling in the seventh and then capping his night with a single in the ninth.

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Alex M. Smith is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals make another splash with Zobrist deal

Oakland receives two pitchers, including highly regarded lefty Manaea

Royals make another splash with Zobrist deal

CLEVELAND -- If there was any doubt of Royals general manager Dayton Moore's conviction about returning his team to the World Series, that should have been removed with his second major trade in three days.

On Sunday, the Royals acquired right-hander Johnny Cueto from the Reds to solidify the rotation. On Tuesday, Moore dealt for Oakland's super utility player Ben Zobrist in exchange for pitching prospects Sean Manaea and Aaron Brooks.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

Trades have Royals in driver's seat

Trades have Royals in driver's seat

CLEVELAND -- Before this week, the Kansas City Royals could return to the World Series. Now they should return to the World Series. Before, they might win the title. Now, they'd better win the title. 

Those are the noteworthy nuances we're dealing with here, in the wake of the bold bids for Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist. When a small-market club sells off a significant section of the farm system for a couple of robust rentals, it has publicly forfeited any "aw shucks, it would be nice to win one" slogan it might have once abided by, and instead embraced the "World Series or bust" feel that, fair or not, will define its identity for the next three months.

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Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals acquired five-players-in-one with Ben Zobrist

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Royals acquired five-players-in-one with Ben Zobrist

Last year, as the Royals were making their push to the postseason, there were all sorts of rumors about the players Dayton Moore might acquire -- Ken Griffey Jr. in his prime, Optimus Prime, also in his prime, etc. In the end, the Royals picked up Erik Kratz, a useful backup catcher (who received zero playing time in the postseason) and some power for the bench in Josh Willingham. Fine pieces both, but not the kind of thing that makes AL competition begin quaking or causes NL teams to say things like, "You know, let's just cancel the World Series this year. Hear there's a lot of good HBO shows on in October."

Not so this year. Just two days after acquiring the Reds ace, Johnny Cueto, Moore was at it again, picking up Ben Zobrist from the Athletics in exchange for right-hander Aaron Brooks and southpaw Sean Manaea. 

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Davis named Bob Feller Act of Valor Award nominee

Davis named Bob Feller Act of Valor Award nominee

The active Major League players and Hall of Famers nominated for the 2015 Bob Feller Act of Valor Award were revealed Tuesday.

The award, now in its third year, honors the legacy of Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller, who became the first professional athlete to enlist in the U.S. military after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. A current MLB player, a Hall of Famer and a U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer are recognized each Veterans Day in a ceremony at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C.

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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLBPAA hosts youth clinic in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY -- The stifling heat and humidity on a midsummer Tuesday morning at Kauffman Stadium could not be denied. But for 130 youngsters, ages 6 to 16, the memories of their time on the field may never melt away.

The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association Legends For Youth clinic was well worth the sweat beads, if the smiles on the kids' faces were any indication. The enthusiastic participants received autographs from eight former Major Leaguers, station-to-station instruction on all aspects of the game and life lessons from Kansas City-area residents and former Royals players Brian McRae and John Mayberry.

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Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Volquez hangs tough to pick up 10th victory

Volquez hangs tough to pick up 10th victory

CLEVELAND -- Royals right-hander Edinson Volquez wasn't at his best, physically or emotionally.

Volquez walked five batters, gave up six hits and barked at home-plate umpire Lance Barksdale much of the time. But Volquez came through with six-plus innings and a quality start in the Royals' 9-4 win over the Indians on Monday night.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hosmer's four RBIs push Royals past Indians

Hosmer's four RBIs push Royals past Indians

CLEVELAND -- The Royals started this three-game series with a bang, belting two homers, including a three-run shot by Eric Hosmer in the first inning as part of his four-RBI night, in a 9-4 victory over the Indians on Monday night at Progressive Field.

Indians rookie Cody Anderson struggled for a second consecutive outing, allowing seven earned runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings with two walks. The Royals were aggressive against the strike-throwing righty, with four of his eight hits allowed coming on the first pitch, including home runs by Hosmer and Omar Infante.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. August Fagerstrom is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hosmer, Royals gain from aggressive swings

Hosmer, Royals gain from aggressive swings

CLEVELAND -- Eric Hosmer got the Royals doing what they do best this season: Ambush opponents early.

Hosmer delivered a three-run homer to left-center field in the first inning, setting the tone in a 9-4 victory over the Indians on Monday night. The Royals now have outscored their opponents, 69-34, in the first inning.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.