Going To WAR On The Trades Of The GMDM Era- Part 4: 2009

In part 4 of this multi-part series, we take a look at the trades of the Dayton Moore administration that were made in 2009 for the Kansas City Royals.

Click the years to see the previous articles:


As we move on to 2009 and beyond, it is important to note that the data begins to become a little less reliable.  The reason being that there are fewer years on which to judge a player.  If the Royals traded an established major leaguer for a good prospect that has yet to break into the major leagues, based on the formula we use, the Royals may not get any credit for the trade.  But overall, it should even out both ways, especially when we combine the WAR scores for all of the years at the end.

As was illustrated in last week’s column, 2008 was a bad year for Dayton in terms of trades.  Injuries were to blame for part of this, as was plain bad luck.  Even so, by 21st century Royals standards, 2008 was not that bad of a season.  For one, they didn’t finish in last place.  Finishing 75-87, it was the Royals best season since the fluky “smoke and mirrors” 2003 season.  With Zack Greinke ready to take the leap into superstardom and an elite closer in Soria, there was some positive momentum going into 2009.  On top of this, right after the 2008 season, the Royals dealt for speedy centerfielder, Coco Crisp, and slugging 1B Mike Jacobs.  There was definitely an attitude amongst Royals people that they would have an opportunity to compete for the division in 2009.  So let’s see how Dayton fared in his trades in that year…

April 1, 2009: The Kansas City Royals traded Ross Gload and cash to the Florida Marlins for a player to be named later. The Florida Marlins sent Eric Basurto (minors) (May 13, 2009) to the Kansas City Royals to complete the trade.

A journeyman bench player, Gload spent 2 pretty meaningless years with the Royals, so seeing him get dealt was neither a blow nor a surprise.  One might have thought the Royals could have gotten more than a 40th round pick in Eric Basurto, but apparently not.  Basurto, to his credit, is still playing baseball in the Royals organization and spent last season in Double A Northwest Arkansas.  He likely has little to no upside, so this trade was pretty meaningless.

Gload: 1.3 WAR with Marlins (2009)

Basurto: 0.0 WAR (has yet to appear for Royals)

Marlins win trade by 1.3 WAR

July 10, 2009: The Kansas City Royals traded Derrick Saito (minors) and Dan Cortes to the Seattle Mariners for Yuniesky Betancourt.

The critics came out of the woodwork for this one.  At the time, the Royals needed a shortstop in a bad way.  After Mike Aviles was injured early in the season, they were left with a combination of Willie Bloomquist and Tony Pena Jr.   Many would make the argument that by making this trade the Royals worsened their shortstop situation.  And the numbers would support that.  Not only was Betancourt carrying a relatively hefty contract, but he absolutely positively sucked.  In 2009, he was far worse than replacement level. Rumor has it Seattle fans were laughing when the Royals traded for Betancourt.  In his defense though, he was much better in 2010 than in 2009, even leading the team in home runs that year.

Saito: 0.0 WAR (never appeared for Mariners and appears to be out of baseball)

Cortes: -0.1 WAR with Mariners (2010-2011)

Betancourt: 0.0 WAR with Royals (1/2 of 2009 and 2010)

Royals win trade by 0.1 WAR

September 3, 2009: The Texas Rangers traded Tim Smith (minors) and Manny Pina to the Kansas City Royals for Danny Gutierrez (minors).

This is one of those trades that cannot be fairly judged using the WAR statistic.  The Rangers have absolutely nothing to show for this trade, while the Royals have likely their backup catcher of the future in Pina, along with Smith who is still in the organization.  But the advantage is only 0.1 WAR so the impact is minimal for the purpose of this study.  Despite what the #’s below say, this trade was a big win for Dayton and company.

Gutierrez: 0.0 WAR (never appeared for Rangers and appears to be out of baseball)

Smith: 0.0 WAR (has yet to appear for Royals-played last season in Double A Northwest Arkansas)

Pina: -0.1 WAR with Royals (2011)

Rangers win trade by 0.1 WAR

November 6, 2009: The Chicago White Sox traded Josh Fields and Chris Getz to the Kansas City Royals for Mark Teahen.

This one is interesting.  When it was first made, it looked kind of good.  Teahen’s production had begun to tail off signifcantly in Kansas City.  Many believed that it was because he had gotten himself so mentally screwed up by the constant changing of positions.  This may have been true.  So the White Sox acquired him and signed him to a multi-year deal to make him their everyday 3rd baseman.  The Royals were picking up their new everyday 2nd baseman in the speedy Chris Getz, and Josh Fields, a 3b/OF who had hit 23 HR as a rookie in 100 games in 2007.  Fields quickly did nothing in KC, and Getz proved himself to be nothing more than a steady defensive 2B with some speed and no power.  And when I say no power, I mean NO power.  In 2 years with the Royals, Getz has a total of 18 extra base hits.  His 3 home runs in 2009 with the White Sox is starting to look VERY suspicious.  Teahen  picked up right where he left off with the Royals, and eventually continued to regress.  He was eventually sent off to Toronto in the middle of last year, and is currently without a team.  So this trade, which at the time was a very important one for the Royals, turned out to be pretty meaningless for both teams involved.

Teahen: -1.2 WAR with White Sox (2010 and 1/2 of 2011)

Fields: -0.1 WAR with Royals (2010)

Getz: 0.6 WAR with Royals (2010-2011)

Royals win trade by 0.7 WAR

Based on the study, the Royals lost by 0.6 WAR on 2009 trades.  The good news though, is they gave up very little.  Perhaps Dayton was scared off by what happened in 2008, or perhaps he learned from it.  One might argue that they missed an opportunity to get more for Teahen, but at least they weren’t burned by it.  They added Pina, who while maybe not a huge part of the future, is a part of the future nonetheless.  Getz is still with the ballclub, though his role for this coming season is in question.  Next week, we take a look at Dayton’s 2010 trades.

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