Today, I’ll try to do the same thing, but with those players the Royals have acquired over the years at the deadline. In some ways, it’s a difficult thing to do, as the Royals didn’t execute many trades at the deadline when they were in their heyday, usually haven’t been buyers at the deadline and the players they’ve traded away weren’t always the kind to inspire a blockbuster.
So the disclaimer on this one is that things could get ugly.
Another reminder that the trade deadline was originally June 15 up until 1986 when it was moved to the end of July. That rule applies in a couple of these situations.
C – Lucas May (2010)
On July 28, 2010, the Royals turned Scott Podsednik into a couple of intriguing prospects. Podsednik was having a surprising resurgence at the top of the Royals batting order. The Dodgers were in the hunt and looking for outfield help.
May was joined with Elisaul Pimentel in the deal. A converted shortstop, May was one of the top catching prospects in the Dodgers system and was hitting well in Triple A at the time. May ended up playing in 12 games for the Royals at the big league level but was mostly in Omaha after the deal. He was sold to Arizona for cash after the season and is currently in the Mets system.
1B – Ryan Shealy (2006)
At the deadline in 2006, the Royals and Rockies met up on a classic “change of scenery” deal. Shealy came over with pitcher Scott Dohmann on July 31 that year in exchange for lefty Jeremy Affeldt and right-hander Denny Bautista. Affeldt had been bounced around in various roles as part of the Royals pitching staff and nothing seemed to click for him. He also battled a persistent blister problem on his throwing hand that always resurfaced. Bautista looked like a pitcher with promise but never developed any command to realize it.
Similarly, Shealy had been a slugger in the Rockies minor leagues but was already 26 and closing in on 27 without a real spot on the Rockies (think of him as a 2006 Clint Robinson). In two months with the Royals that year, he hit seven homers and a .280/.338/.451 line. It looked good going into 2007 and the Royals figured he’d be the everyday first baseman. He struggled and was demoted to Omaha at the end of June. He didn’t resurface until September 2008 and was on his way out of the Royals organization.
2B – Cookie Rojas (1970)
After those first two, it’s nice to have the chance to highlight a very good pickup at the deadline. On June 13, 1970, the Royals sent Fred Rico to the Cardinals and got Rojas in return.
Rico played in 12 games for the inaugural Royals team in 1969. It was the only major league experience he ever had.
Rojas only made four All-Star teams as a Royal and was inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame in 1987.
SS – Neifi Perez (2001)
It’s bad enough that the Royals traded for Perez. That’s a big problem to start with – he was Yuniesky Betancourt before Yuni was Yuni. And he didn’t have any of the pop. He was positive defensively, but with an OPS+ of 64 for his career, his defensive ability only made him a replacement level player at best.
The Royals traded Jermaine Dye for him on July 25.
Ouch. (I wanted to put Jeff Keppinger here, but honestly, Neifi’s a better story.)
3B – Dean Palmer (1997)
We covered the other half of this deal, as the Royals sent the speedy Tom Goodwin to Texas for Palmer on July 25.
Palmer fit into the Royals lineup as a power hitter, and he hit nine homers in the 49 games he spent with the Royals during the rest of the 1997 season. He was even better in 1998, hitting 34 homers in his only full season with the Royals. Palmer is one of very few Royals hitters who’ve hit 30 homers in a season and the third most in team history. He left for Detroit after becoming a free agent and played parts of five seasons with them.
OF – Gregor Blanco (2010)
During the remainder of the 2010 season, Blanco hit 203 plate appearances and played mostly in center, adding good contact, defense and strike zone judgment to the team. There was some talk that he might end up the opening day center fielder in 2011, but the Royals signed Jeff Francoeur and Melky Cabrera while also having Mitch Maier and Jarrod Dyson in the mix. Then they acquired Lorenzo Cain. Blanco was traded to Washington for cash but didn’t get back to the majors until this season, where he’s been a solid reserve for the Giants.
Also, he did this:
OF – Chip Ambres (2005)
Ambres was acquired with Juan Cedeno from Boston on July 19, 2005 for infielder Tony Graffanino. He was almost a league average outfielder that season and had 12 extra base hits. He only played 80 career games in the big leagues, including 53 for the Royals.
OF – Abraham Nunez (2004)
The Royals haven’t acquired many good outfielders at the deadline, have they? Nunez was acquired on the last day of July in 2004 for Rudy Seanez. He didn’t play in the majors after 2004 as a Royal. He and Jeff D’Amico hold the distinction of not being THAT Abraham Nunez (former Pirate, Cardinal and Phillie from 1997-2008) and not being THAT Jeff D’Amico (former Brewer, Pirate, Met and Indian from 1996-2004; the other D’Amico was part of the Kevin Appier trade in 1999).
SP – Charlie Leibrandt (1983)
The Royals sent Bob Tufts to the Reds on June 7, 1983 and got Leibrandt back. Tufts had thrown 26.2 innings for the Royals when he was traded. He never pitched for the Reds.
Leibrandt only went on to finish fifth in Cy Young voting in 1985 and threw 1257 innings from 1984 to 1989 with Kansas City. He was the starting pitcher in Game 6 of the 1985 World Series, and held the Cardinals to one run in 7.2 innings to keep the Royals in position to make the historic comeback. He also had a solid start that fell apart in Game 2 but ate up 8.2 innings in that one.
RP – Stan Belinda (1993)
Belinda was an average arm in the Pirates bullpen and with the Royals in second place and four games behind on July 31, 1993, made a nice target at the deadline. In return the Pirates got Jon Lieber and Dan Miceli, both of whom went on to long careers in the big leagues. Miceli appeared in 631 games. Lieber fit the bill of a league average, middle of the rotation starter for years, making 327 starts, most with the Pirates and Cubs.
Belinda had an 8.2 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in 1993 for the Royals down the stretch, though they never made up the ground to take the division. He wasn’t nearly as good in 1994 for the Royals though, and bounced around until 2000.
Other Notable Royals Trade Deadline Acquisitions:
Topics: Abraham Nunez, AL Central, Baseball, Charlie Leibrandt, Chip Ambres, Cookie Rojas, Curt Leskanic, Dean Palmer, Gregor Blanco, Kansas City, Kansas City Royals, KC, KC Royals, Kyle Davies, Luke May, MLB, Neifi Perez, Royals, Ryan Shealy, Stan Belinda, Tim Collins