Forgettable Trades in KC History
In light of the most recent Royals transaction, I have compiled a collection of some of the worst Royals trades in history. This isn’t a comment on how the Grienke trade is already a bust. We won’t know for sure until 4-5 years down the road.
Centerfielder Lorenzo Cain probably overachieved last season, but Alcides Escobar is an instant upgrade at short even if he did hit 40 points lower than Betancourt. Two young speedy defenders along with two projectable arms under team control for the next five plus years.
It should be intriguing to see how Greinke performs in Milwaukee. Greinke facing pitchers should be fun to watch, and playoff stretch could likely spike his numbers and value. Whatever happens this deal was made by two teams with completely different mentalities.
The Royals continue to mortgage off major league talent to supply what might be the greatest farm system in history. The Brewers on the other hand has traded in the franchises future for one last shot at the title with Prince Fielder at first.
Hopefully we can look back 5-10 years from now and the result of the Greinke trade won’t look like any of these.
Royals receive: P Ricardo Rodriguez
Braves receive: OF Matt Diaz
Matt Diaz isn’t quite as significant as some of the outfielders to come, but none the less Diaz has put up solid numbers in his five seasons since being dealt to Atlanta. Diaz hit .305, 73 2B, 41 HR, and 180 RBI, good enough for a 5.9 WAR in his time as a Brave.
Meanwhile, Rodriguez never saw time in the big leagues.
Royals receive: SS Neifi Perez
A’s receive: OF Jermaine Dye
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.
Royals receive: C A.J. Hinch, SS Angel Berroa, P Roberto Hernandez
A’s receive: 2B Mark Ellis, OF Johnny Damon
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. 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.
Royals receive: P Chris Fussell
Orioles receive: 1B Jeff Conine
Conine was originally drafted by the Royals in the 58th round of the 1987 MLB Draft. Kansas City was forced to surrender him to the Marlins in their expansion draft. After five successful seasons in Florida, along with a 1997 World Series Championship, the Royals nabbed Conine again for the 1998 campaign.
His return to Kansas City resulted in a subpar season, with only 309 at-bats, causing the Royals to deal him to Baltimore for a 22 year old pitching prospect, Chris Fussell.
With Baltimore, Conine hit .289, 136 2B, 75 HR, and 376 RBI. Conine made his way back to Florida just in time to cash in on his second World Series Championship in 2003.
Fussell started 17 for Kansas City in two seasons before exiting the league. In his 126 innings Fussell managed a 6.79 ERA.
Royals receive: P Mauro Gozzo, P Rick Anderson, C Ed Hearn
Mets receive: P David Cone, OF Chris Jelic
Royals receive: IF Chris Stynes, IF Tony Medrano, P David Sinnes
Blue Jays receive: David Cone
I have combined the two David Cone trades, because they were equally bad. Cone made his first All-star appearance in 1988, 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. Cone won the 1994 Cy Young and then was dealt to Toronto. Cone went 9-6 with a 3.38 ERA before he was traded to the Yankees.
In return, the Royals got 162 combined at-bats from Ed Hearn and Chris Stynes, 47 innings pitched from Rick Anderson, and 17 combined minor league seasons from Medrano and Sinnes.
Royals receive: OF Leon Roberts
Blue Jays receive: 1B Cecil Fielder
The Royals acquired ‘Big Daddy’ Fielder in the Secondary 1982 MLB Draft. In his rookie season, at the age of 18, Fielder stroked .322, 28 2B, 20 HR, and 68 RBI in only 273 at-bats.
Kansas City felt they could leverage the young slugger for a veteran presence in the outfield, trading him to Toronto for Leon Roberts. Fielder played parts of four seasons with Toronto before spending a year in Japan. Fielder’s reintroduction to MLB in Detroit was a smash. In his ten years with Toronto and Detroit Fielder blasted 250 homers, and knocked in 762 RBIs.
Leon Roberts, an aging outfielder, came to the Royals in 1983. By ’84, he was out of the league recording 258 at-bats with Kansas City, hitting .252 with 8 HR and 27 RBIs.
Royals receive: P Lindy McDaniel
Yankees receive: OF Lou Pinella, P Ken Wright
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.