A Historical Look At Royals Trades
Nearly two weeks into the off-season, the only stories coming out of Kansas City are trade based. When GM Dayton Moore shipped off another talented outfielder to Oakland, many Royals fans naturally felt a chill down their spine. Knee-jerk reactions take the mind to beloved outfielders Jermaine Dye and Johnny Damon making a similar departure for little in return. Only time will tell if the swap for two young, live arms will prove to be beneficial.
The biggest story is about a trade which may, or may not be made. Moore has been open about listening to potential deals for ace Zack Greinke. Instead of debating whether trading Greinke would be the right move for the franchise, let’s take a historical look at trades which had lasting effects on the Royals.
The Cedric Tallis Era
Houston Astros received: C – John Jones
Kansas City Royals received: C- Buck Martinez, IF – Mickey Sinnerud, C-Tommie Smith
Buck Martinez was the only player who stuck in the big leagues from the deal with the Astros. Martinez was drafted by the Phildelphia Phillies in the second round of the 1967 draft. A year later he was selected by Houston in the 1968 Rule 5 Draft.
Before Martinez suited up with Houston he was dealt to Kansas City, for catching prospect John Jones. Jones hit .153 in three minor league seasons. Martinez went on to play eight seasons in Kansas City spanning 1969-77. Martinez played in only 361 games, but was a backstop during Whitey Herzog’s run during the 70’s.
St. Louis Cardinals received: OF-Fred Rico
Kansas City Royals received: 2B- Cookie Rojas
The only time Rico saw in the MLB was with Kansas City. His brief stint only lasted 12 games. Rojas traveled west on I-70 23 games into the 1970 season. Rojas went on to an eight year career in Kansas City, from 1970-77. Rojas was a four time All-star as a Royal and hit .268, 139 2B, 25 HR, 332 RBI, and 46 SB in his Kansas City tenure
Houston Astros received: P – Jim York, P – Lance Clemons
Kansas City Royals received: 1B – John Mayberry, 3B – Dave Garngaard
Jim York threw 174 innings with a 4.19 ERA in relief for Houston. The Astros dealt Lance Clemons five months later to St. Louis. Even though Garngaard never made it out of the minors, the Royals struck gold on Mayberry.
The first baseman played six seasons as a Royal, hitting .261/.374/.448, 139 2B, 143 HR, 552 RBI and 16 SB. Mayberry was a mainstay at first until a playoff spat with manager Whitey Herzog ultimately resulted in a trade to Toronto. Twice Mayberry was an All-Star with the Royals and finished second in the 1975 MVP voting. In his six years with Kansas City Mayberry compiled a WAR of 20.2.
Cincinnati Reds received: OF – Richie Scheinblum, P – Roger Nelson
Kansas City Royals received: OF – Hal McRae, P – Wayne Simpson
The Royals purchased Riche Scheinblum from Texas in 1971. He enjoyed his only All-Star season with the Royals in 1972. After he was dealt to the Reds he played only 29 games before being traded to the California Angels in June of 1973. Roger Nelson played his final two MLB seasons in Cinicinnati. He went 7-6 with a 3.41 ERA in 28 starts for the Reds, good enough for a WAR of 0.7.
Wayne Simpson finished fourth in the 1970 Rookie of the Year Award for the Reds. He posted 14-3 with a 3.02 ERA and 119 SO in his rookie campaign. He made 16 forgettable starts for the Royals and was ultimately dealt to the Pirates in 1974 for LHP Jim Foor.
Hal McRae became a fan favorite for the next 15 years. McRae was a three-time All-star and won a Silver Slugger in 1982. McRae was around for the Royals first taste of success during the 70s and was part of the pinnacle of the Royals franchise, the 1985 World Series Championship. With the Royals, McRae hit .293, 449 2B, 63 3B, 169 HR, 1,012 RBI, and 105 SB, with a 27.1 WAR.
New York Yankees received: OF – Lou Piniella, P – Ken Wright
Kansas City Royals received: P – Lindy McDaniel
The Royals got the 38 year old relief pitcher, Lindy McDaniel, who threw 184.2 innings in two seasons with Kansas City. His WAR as a Royal was 0.9.
Ken Wright only threw 5.2 innings in New York, but Piniella went on to play 11 seasons as an outfielder for the Yankees. After being an All-star in Kansas City, Piniella hit .295, 178 2B, 57 HR, 417 RBI, and 8.5 WAR in New York. Two seasons after retiring as a Yankee, Piniella took the reins in New York as manager. Piniella enjoyed a 23 year managerial career, winning the 1990 World Series with the Reds.
The Joe Burke Era
Seattle Mariners received: 3B – Manny Castillo
Kansas City Royals received: PTBNL – P – Buddy Black
Manny Castillo played two seasons in Seattle. The third baseman hit .242, 3 HR, 72 RBI, and an abysmal -2.2 WAR.
Buddy Black blossomed in his seven years with the Royals. He started 216 games, going 56-57 with a 3.73 ERA. He posted a 12.3 WAR as a Royal and was part of the 1985 rotation which led the Royals to the promise land. Black went on to a 15 year career for four different squads. Black broke back into the big leagues as a manager in 2007. He has managed the San Deigo Padres for four years, posting his best record in 2010, 90-72.
The John Schuerholz Era
Cincinnati Reds received: P – Bob Tufts
Kansas City Royals received: P – Charlie Leibrandt
Leibrandt debuted with the Royals in 1984 posting solid numbers. His breakout season came during the 1985 campaign, ultimately finishing fifth in the Cy Young voting. Leibrandt went 76-61 with a 3.20 ERA in six seasons with Kansas City. He played well enough to amass a 21.4 WAR in his time as a Royal. Tufts never played in the MLB again after his 6.2 inning stint as a Royal in 1983.
Toronto Blue Jays received: 1B – Willie Aikens
Kansas City Royals received: 2B – Jorge Orta
Willie Aikens played four solid seasons for Kansas City, but after being traded to Toronto Aikens hit only .205 in 254 at-bats. Jorge Orta finished out his last four seasons with the Royals. Orta hit .277, with 62 2B, 24 HR, 145 RBI. He was also a part of one of the most famous plays in franchise history. His groundball to Jack Clark in Game Six of the 1985 World Series resulted in “The Call.”
St. Louis Cardinals received: OF – John Morris
Kansas City Royals received: OF – Lonnie Smith
Lonnie Smith was an All-star with the Cardinals in 1982, but with the introduction of speedy rookie Vince Coleman made Smith the odd man out. The Cards dealt Smith to the Royals for prospect John Morris. Morris played five seasons in St. Louis, never getting more than 157 at-bats in a season.
Smith went on show his talents in Kansas City. In the same season he was saved, he dealt out supreme revenge by helping the Royals beat his former squad in the World Series. Smith played three seasons with Kansas City, producing .270, 55 2B, 12 3B, 17 HR, 93 RBI, and 75 SB.
Seattle Mariners received: OF – Mike Kingery, P – Scott Bankhead, P – Steve Shields
Kansas City Royals received: OF – Danny Tartabull, P – Rick Lueken
Out of the group of players the Royals gave up, the most successful was Scott Bankhead. Bankhead played five seasons in Seattle, being a main part of the rotation for three seasons. He was 33-31, with a 4.16 ERA in 568.2 innings of work.
In return the Royals got outfielder Danny Tartabull in his prime. During his five seasons in Kansas City Tartabull hit .290, 141 2B, 124 HR, and 425 RBI. His most impressive season was his last as a Royal. In 1991, the All-star hit .316, 35 2B, 31 HR, and 100 RBI, before signing with the Yankees in 1992.
New York Mets received: P – David Cone, OF – Chris Jelic
Kansas City Royals received: P – Mauro Gozzo, P – Rick Anderson, C – Ed Hearn
After the Royals dealt the fizzling pitching prospect to New York he exploded. David Cone broke out in 1988, making his first All-star appearance while finishing third in the Cy Young voting and tenth in the MVP voting. In seven years with the Mets, Cone went 81-51 with a 3.13 ERA, including 15 shutouts.
In return, the Royals got 35 at-bats from Ed Hearn and 47 innings pitched from Rick Anderson.
The Herk Robinson Era
Toronto Blue Jays received: P – David Cone
Kansas City Royals received: IF – Chris Stynes, IF – Tony Medrano, P – David Sinnes
Later in his career Cone re-signed with the Royals. After winning the 1994 Cy Young Award, Kansas City dealt Cone again, this time north of the border. Cone started only 17 games for Toronto, going 9-6 with a 3.38 ERA before he was traded to the Yankees.
In return, the Royals got 127 at-bats from Chris Stynes and 17 combined minor league seasons from Medrano and Sinnes.
It’s hard to decide if the Royals got less the first or second time they traded Cone.
Atlanta Braves received: IF – Keith Lockhart, OF – Michael Tucker
Kansas City Royals received: OF – Jermaine Dye, P – Jaime Walker
The Royals gave up a mediocre infielder, Keith Lockhart, and former first round draft pick in Michael Tucker. Lockhart played five seasons in Atlanta, while Tucker only lasted two.
Jermaine Dye turned into a Gold Glover and All-star in Kansas City. In his five seasons as a Royal, Dye hit .284, 118 2B, 85 HR, and 329 RBI. In his career Dye broke 100 RBIs in a season only four times, three of which he played as a Royal.
Oakland A’s received: P – Kevin Appier
Kansas City Royals received: P – Jeff D’Amico, P – Blake Stein, P – Brad Rigby
Kevin Appier was a first round draft pick in 1987 by the Royals. The All-star logged 11 seasons with Kansas City and was a Royals’ lifer until he was shipped to Oakland. Appier only threw two seasons in Oakland, going 22-16 with a 4.84 ERA. After his time in Kansas City, Appier never pitched the same.
The most notable player the Royals received was pitcher Blake Stein. Stein played four seasons with Kansas City and threw 355.2 innings, with a 5.01 ERA.
The Allard Baird Era
Oakland A’s received: IF – Mark Ellis, OF – Johnny Damon, P – Cory Lidle
Tampa Bay Devil Rays received: OF – Ben Grieve
Kansas City Royals received: C – AJ Hinch, SS – Angel Berroa, P – Roberto Hernandez
The biggest pieces at the time of the trade were Ben Grieve and Johnny Damon. In 1998, Grieve was an All-star and won the Rookie of the Year. In his last season in Oakland Grieve hit .279, 40 2B, 27 HR, 104 RBI. Damon was a rising star, in his sixth and final season as a Royal he hit .327, 42 2B, 10 3B, 16 HR, 88 RBI, and 46 SB.
After being dealt to Tampa Grieve was never the same. He played three seasons as a Devil Ray, only hitting 34 homers. Damon played one subpar season in Oakland before signing with the Red Sox in the off-season.
Mark Ellis went on to be the everyday second baseman for the A’s for the next eight seasons. He placed eight in the 2002 Rookie of the Year Award and in his career has put up numbers like this; .268, 193 2B, 85 HR, 418 RBI.
A.J. Hinch and Roberto Hernandez were both in Kansas City for two forgettable seasons. Berroa won the 2003 Rookie of the Year Award, going for .287, 28 2B, 17 HR, 71 RBI, and 21 SB. Berroa would never come close to duplicating his rookie campaign. An overall breakdown of how many wins each player in the trade was worth looks like this:
Oakland: 30.4 WAR Total
Tampa: 2.0 WAR Total
KC: 5.2 WAR Total
Oakland A’s received: OF – Jermaine Dye
Colorado Rockies received: P – Todd Belitz, OF – Mario Encarnacion, 2B – Jose Ortiz
Kansas City Royals received: SS – Neifi Perez
The main piece in this three way deal was Jermaine Dye. Dye went on to play in parts of four seasons for Oakland. He only played two full seasons as an Athletic posting similar numbers in 2002 (.252, 24 HR, 86 RBI) and 2004 (.265, 23 HR, 80 RBI).
In Colorado Neifi Perez had been a capable performer, actually winning a Gold Glove the year before coming to Kansas City. As a Royal though, Perez played two pretty awful years of shortstop. When all was said and done he played well below replacement level, -1.9 WAR as a Royal.
Oakland: 2.5 WAR Total
Colorado: -0.1 WAR Total
KC: -1.9 WAR Total
Oakland A’s received: P – Octavio Dotel
Houston Astros received: OF – Carlos Beltran
Kansas City Royals received: C – John Buck, 3B – Mark Teahen, P – Mike Wood
Carlos Beltran was the 1999 Rookie of the Year and an All-star as a Royal. Even though he only played half a season with the Astros, he helped Houston push the NLCS to seven games against the Cardinals. Beltran hit 23 HR, 53 RBI, and 28 SB, in 90 games. During the 2004 playoffs Beltran went off for 8 HR, 14 RBI, 6 SB, while hitting .435
The Royals received solid return in reliable players like Mark Teahen and John Buck. Despite producing eye-popping numbers like Beltran, Teahen (five years) and Buck (six years) supplied steady play from two pivotal positions.
Oakland: 1.4 WAR Total
Houston: 3.5 WAR Total
KC: 4.2 WAR Total
New York Mets received: 3B/OF – Jose Bautista
Kansas City Royals received: 1B – Justin Huber
Jose Bautista never got an at-bat with the Mets. After being traded to the Mets he was shipped to the Pirates and ultimately to the Blue Jays. Most would have considered this trade as two ‘no-names’ until Bautista went off in 2010 for 54 bombs and 124 RBIs, good enough for his first All-star appearance and Silver Slugger.
Justin Huber hit .204 in only 98 at-bats in Kansas City.
The Dayton Moore Era
Tampa Bay Rays received: P – JP Howell
Kansas City Royals received: OF – Joey Gathright
J.P. Howell was a first round draft pick of the Royals in 2004. He started every game he appeared in with the Royals and his first two seasons in Tampa. It wasn’t until the Rays converted the starter into a reliever that Howell posted ERAs of 2.22 and 2.84 in 2008-09 respectively.
Gathright played three seasons for the Royals. He hit .273, with 40 SB, but never many produced runs. He scored 103 runs while driving in 69.
Arizona Diamondbacks received: P – Billy Buckner
Kansas City Royals received: IF – Alberto Callaspo
Alberto Callaspo provided the Royals with a versatile infielder and consistent bat in the line-up. Callaspo logged three seasons with Kansas City, hitting .293, 68 2B, 13 3B, 19 HR, and 132 RBI. He saw time at second base, third base, shortstop, left field, and designated hitter as a Royal.
Billy Buckner was a second round pick by the Royals in the 2004 MLB Draft. In his three seasons with Arizona, Buckner has started 16 games, posting a 6.56 ERA.
Florida Marlins received: P – Leo Nunez
Kansas City Royals received: 1B – Mike Jacobs
Dayton Moore was desperately searching for some left-handed pop to complement Billy Butler. He decided on Mike Jacobs. Jacobs disappointed in his only Royals season, hitting .228, with 19 HR and 61 RBI.
To get Jacobs, the Marlins received their closer of the future, Leo Nunez. In his two seasons with Florida, Nunez has racked up 56 saves, with a 3.77 ERA.
Boston Red Sox received: P – Ramon Ramirez
Kansas City Royals received: OF – Coco Crisp
A month later, Moore tried a similar deal with the Red Sox, another reliever for a stop-gap veteran. Coco Crisp hit only .228 in 180 at-bats before suffering a season-ending injury. This also ended his Royals tenure.
Moore gave up Ramon Ramirez, a live armed reliever. Ramirez threw 112 innings in his two seasons with Boston, posting a 3.46 ERA. At the 2010 trade deadline, Boston dealt Ramirez to San Francisco. Ramirez appeared in all three playoff series leading to the Giants World Series Championship.