The Five Best Trades in Royals History

2 of 7

1973 Kansas City Royals Picture Pack

5. Fred Rico for Cookie Rojas (June 13, 1970)

Fred Rico’s major league career spanned 14 games, all of which came for the Kansas City Royals in their first season. A career minor leaguer who played in the outfield, third and catcher, he was the type of player who worked well as organizational depth, to be brought to the major league level in only the most dire of circumstances. Yet, the Royals managed to get a former All-Star second baseman in Cookie Rojas from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for Rico.

Rojas did not play much for the Cardinals over the first two months of the season, appearing in only 23 games and producing a terrible .106/.176/.106 batting line. Yet, when he came over to Kansas City, his ability to hit reappeared, as he produced a .260/.296/.326 batting line for the rest of the season.

That new found ability was just a precursor for how he would preform over the next few seasons. Primarily known for his defense in an era of defensive minded middle infielders, Cookie Rojas hit well enough to earn four consecutive All-Star berths from 1971 through 1974. In those years, Rojas produced a .276/.324/.360 batting line. His OPS+ of 95 may not seem great, but for the time frame, that was quite solid.

Rojas helped solidify the middle of the Royals infield for the early part of the 1970’s, and was a part of the beginning of the Royals great, decade long run of dominance. Not a bad return for a career minor league player.