As we mentioned in the first column of this series, there are three phases to “The Process”, as Dayton Moore likes to refer to the Royals journey toward building a championship-caliber team. The Royals have completed Phase One (rebuilding the farm system), and are nearing completion of phase two (transitioning of the farm system talent to the major league roster). Assuming that Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Salvador Perez, etc continue to live up to expectations, there are still going to be a few holes to fill. And while some of this may be able to be done via free agency, most will have to be done via trades. Dayton must shrewdly determine which young talent he is going to keep, and who the potential trade chips might be. So as we approach this final phase in “The Process”, we take a look at the success (or lack thereof) Royals trades past, so as to be able to better predict the the success of Royals trades of the future. We use the WAR (wins above replacement) statistic to determine who came out on the winning end of each trade. In 2006 and 2007, it was clear that Dayton was more or less cleaning house of talent he felt was not part of the Royals future, exchanging for similar type players in other organizations hoping to find a diamond in the rough. The early part of 2008 was more of this, but after a promising end to the 2008 season, Dayton got a bit more aggressive as soon as the post-season hit:
March 19, 2008: The Cincinnati Reds traded Brad Salmon to the Kansas City Royals for a player to be named later. The Kansas City Royals sent Henry Arias (minors) (June 13, 2008) to the Cincinnati Reds to complete the trade.
Neither of these players played for either team they were traded to and both appear to be out of baseball.
March 26, 2008: The Colorado Rockies traded Ramon Ramirez to the Kansas City Royals for a player to be named later. The Kansas City Royals sent Jorge De La Rosa (April 30, 2008) to the Colorado Rockies to complete the trade.
This one is interesting. De La Rosa was inconsistent at best with the Royals, if not consistently maddening. For those that remember “Ram Ram”, he was lights out for the Royals in 2008 coming out of the bullpen. With Joakim Soria settled in as the closer and a recently rehabilitated Zach Greinke setting up, the Royals had one of the most dominating back ends of the bullpen we have seen in some time. The forgotten man in the back end of that bullpen is Ramon Ramirez. For Royals fans that may not recall, take a look at the line he posted in 2008:
Innings Pitched: 71.2
Ramirez left the Royals after the 2008 season, but he has continued to pitch at this level in each of his 2 stops with the Red Sox and the Giants after leaving the Royals after the 2008 season. As for De La Rosa, he also came into his own after this trade was made, becoming a very reliable starter, thus earning himself a 3 year deal worth roughly $30 million with the Rockies after the 2010 season. Even with the season Ramirez had in 2008, most Royals fans would probably have liked to see De La Rosa experience his success in a Royals uniform rather than a Rockies uniform. In fact, he would probably be the ace of the Royals staff if that were the case.
De La Rosa: 5.6 WAR with Rockies (2008-2011)
Ramirez: 2.1 WAR with Royals (2008-traded after ’08 season to Red Sox for Coco Crisp)
Rockies win trade by 3.5 WAR
Who is Juan Rivera? A 24 year old Dominican who never made it past high A ball with the Royals before falling out of baseball following the 2010 season. That doesn’t matter though. Because the bottom line is the Royals found someone dumb enough to take Angel Berroa off their hands. So even if the WAR doesn’t say so, this has to be considered a win for the Royals.
Berroa: 0.0 WAR with Dodgers (2008)
Rivera: 0.0 WAR (never played for Royals)
Paulo Orlando is a 26 year old who played in Triple A Omaha in the Royals organization in 2011. He is likely just organizational depth and unlikely to ever contribute at the major league level. Most will remember that Horacio Ramirez was not gone from the Royals for very long. He was dealt in August of ’08, and back in a Royals uniform by Opening Day 2009.
Ramirez: -0.3 WAR with White Sox (last 2 months of 2008)
Orlando: 0.0 WAR (has yet to appear in a game with the Royals)
Royals win trade by 0.3 WAR
There are many Royals fans who will blast Dayton for this trade. And if you only look at how it turned out for the Royals, then one cannot argue that this was not a terrible trade. However, as referenced before, the Royals had a dominant bullpen in 2008. Nunez was a part of this bullpen. Coming off a 2008 season in which Nunez put up a 2.98 ERA as a 26 year old, they dealt him to Florida for Jacobs, who was coming off a 2008 season that saw him hit 32 home runs with 93 RBI. Most Royals fans also know it has been a long time since the team has a had a guy hit 32 or more home runs in a season. So Dayton dealt from a position of strength (bullpen) for power, which the Royals desperately needed at that point. Needless to say, it didn’t work out. Nunez is a solid closer for the Marlins, while Jacobs played one horrbile season for the Royals and is now out of baseball.
Nunez: 2.1 WAR with Marlins (2009-2011)
Jacobs: -0.9 WAR with Royals (2009)
Marlins win trade by 3.0 WAR
This was an exciting trade at the time. The Royals needed a CF badly. Again, Dayton decided to deal from a position of strength by shipping Ramirez off to Boston in exchange for Crisp. Coco Crisp was definitely the type of player the Royals needed to add. He was a true lead-off hitter who could get on base at a high clip, and an excellent defensive CF. The only problems? Crisp had shown throughout his career to be extremely injury-prone, and the Royals had now lost 3 of their top 4 relief pitchers from the 2008 season. Nunez had gone to the Marlins, Ramirez to Boston, and Zach Greinke back to the starting rotation. Dayton thought the additions of Kyle Farnsworth and Juan Cruz would be enough to piece together another respectable bullpen in 2009. So what happened? Crisp played in just 49 games, batted .228, got hurt, and was done for the year. And oh yeah…the bullpen sucked. Meanwhile, Ramirez went on to replicate his 2008 performance in 2009 with the Red Sox.
Ramirez: 1.9 WAR with Red Sox (2009 and most of 2010)
Crisp: 0.9 WAR with Royals (2009)
Red Sox win trade by 1.0 WAR
So as you can see, Dayton did not make out so well with trades in 2008. In aggregate, he came out on the short end by 6.2 WAR. It is easy to understand Moore’s thought process with some of these deals, but the results were not good.
Next week, we take a look at 2009 and we’ll see if Dayton was able to make up a horrendous year of trades in 2008.