The Five Best Trades in Royals History

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1991 Stadium Club Jeff Montgomery

2. Van Snider for Jeff Montgomery (February 15, 1988)

At one point in time, Van Snider was considered to be a very solid prospect with the potential to be a solid major league outfielder. Jeff Montgomery had struggled with the Reds, and appeared as though he may be a middle reliever at best. Instead, Snider appeared in 19 major league games, producing a .200/.194/.314 batting line. Montgomery, meanwhile, became one of the best closers in Royals history.

Over his twelve year career in Kansas City, Montgomery produced a 44-50 record, saving 304 games with a 3.20 ERA. Montgomery tied Dan Quisenberry‘s mark for the most saves in a season in Royals history, earning 45 saves in 1993, since broken by Greg Holland. Those 304 saves are the all time mark for a Royals closer. Montgomery has etched his name into the annuls of Royals history.

A three time All-Star, Jeff Montgomery may have never received a vote on the Cy Young ballot, but he did finish 13th in the MVP balloting in 1993. That season, along with those 45 saves, Montgomery had a 7-5 record with a 2.27 ERA and a 1.008 WHiP. In his 83.1 innings of work, Montgomery allowed only three home runs. He produced his lowest walk rate of his career, allowing only 23 free passes, while recording 66 strikeouts.

You never know how a prospect will turn out. Van Snider certainly was not what the Reds expected that he would be, while Montgomery became one of the best closers in Royals history.