KC Royals: Old friends abound across the major leagues

(Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports) /
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KC Royals
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The Padres have the best group of ex-Royals. Where are other current stars?

The 2017 season began with hope for the KC Royals, but ended with the daunting probability that much of the club’s 2014-15 championship nucleus would be gone before the 2018 campaign began.

Probability soon became fact. Eric Hosmer left for the greater riches of San Diego and Lorenzo Cain returned to Milwaukee, where he began his career. And although Mike Moustakas and Alcides Escobar couldn’t find free agent deals to their liking and returned to KC, a midseason trade sent Moose to the Brewers and a reunion with Cain.

Today, Cain is still a Brewer. He opted out most of last season (he played five games), but hit .284 with 21 homers, 88 RBIs and 48 steals in his first three years after leaving Kansas City. Next season will be the last of his five-year, $80 million Milwaukee contract; he’ll be 36 when the deal wraps, so it will be interesting to see what he does.

Mike Moustakas became the Reds’ second baseman, but is now back at third.

Unlike Cain’s, Moustakas’ career has taken turns since 2017. After his stints with the Royals and Brewers, he signed a four-year, $64 million contract with Cincinnati, where he’s beginning his second season.

Joining the Reds meant more for Moose than changing teams. He also switched positions—a career third baseman, he played second most of last year. Now, it appears he’s back at third.

Zack Greinke won the Cy Young with the KC Royals. Now he’s an Astro.

One of the KC Royals’ biggest losses ever is Zack Greinke who, at 37, is entering his third campaign with Houston and 19th in the majors. Greinke won a Cy Young and became an All-Star in his seven KC seasons, and his 209-126 career record gets him mentioned in some Hall of Fame conversations.

A reliever who spent little time with the KC Royals is now a top closer.

Liam Hendriks spent only part of a season with Kansas City before becoming a top big league reliever. He went 0-2 in six games with the 2014 Royals, but saved 25 games with a 1.80 ERA for Oakland in 2019 and 14 with a 1.78 ERA in the short 2020 season. He’s with the White Sox now on a three-year, $54 million deal.