The Kansas City Royals made it clear: On their trip to the White House, celebrating their World Series win from last October, they’re only taking players that were on the team for the entire 2015 season, were on the active postseason roster and are still with the team. This leaves someone like Johnny Cueto, now with the San Francisco Giants, out of the trip, which he doesn’t like.
Cueto feels slighted by not being invited, and one has to wonder if he was on the Royals mind when they decided who gets to go and who doesn’t. Maybe it’s just about managing expenses. Cueto was a midseason pickup from the Cincinnati Reds in 2015, and while he didn’t do too well in the regular season (4-7, 4.76 ERA), he went 2-1 in the postseason through four starts, including throwing a two-hitter in nine innings to take a 2-1 lead in the World Series against the New York Mets.
Cueto became a free agent after the playoffs, and signed a $130 million, six-year contract with the San Francisco Giants, which has left a little bit of bad blood between him and the Royals. He’s having a fantastic season in San Francisco (13-2, 2.53 ERA, All-Star), but on the Royals trip to the White House he didn’t get invited, which is disappointing to him after playing a part in getting that World Series title.
I believe that I earned it. I was on the team. I did something for the team for them to win the World Series, so I was expecting it. I feel OK. I feel normal, but I also feel that it’s the team’s, the organization’s responsibility to invite me. I did a job for them, so I think that they should have had the courtesy to invite me. I didn’t speak to anyone from the organization.
Cueto isn’t the only part-time player on the Royals last season that didn’t get invited. Jonny Gomes, who wasn’t signed by any major league team after last season, instead going to Japan, seemed even more disappointed by being excluded from the White House trip. Gomes, unlike Cueto, didn’t play a single game in the postseason.
I’ve been sent down. I’ve been non-tendered, whatever. But this is probably the worst news of my professional baseball career. I’m not sure if he’s being serious.