A 1986 trade with Seattle netted the KC Royals a slugging future All-Star.
The biggest deal so far between the Royals and Mariners came in December 1986 when Kansas City made a big swing for a big swinger. The Royals shipped pitchers Scott Bankhead (who had gone 8-9 with a 4.61 ERA as a rookie in 1986) and Steve Shields (three appearances and 8.2 innings in ’86), and outfielder Mike Kingery (.258 in 62 games as a rookie in ’86) to Seattle for pitcher Rick Luecken, who spent time in Omaha before making his KC debut in June 1989 and was traded with Charlie Leibrandt to Atlanta for Gerald Perry and Jim Lemasters after the season.
But the big prize for the Royals in the 1986 trade was outfielder Danny Tartabull, who hit .270 with 25 home runs as a rookie in that ’86 season. For the next five seasons, Tartabull was among the top slugging right fielders in baseball with a .290 average, 124 home runs and 425 RBIs. He was a 1991 AL All-Star.
Tartabull left as a free agent following the ’91 season and signed with the Yankees. But in his five Kansas City seasons, he left his mark among the best hitters in Royals history in several categories—per Baseball Reference, his KC career .894 OPS and .518 SLG both rank first, his .376 OBP is third best and his .290 average is tied for ninth best. He’s the best player the team has ever acquired from the Mariners.
Bankhead lasted five seasons in Seattle, logging a 33-31 record and 4.15 ERA for the M’s. His best season came in 1992 pitching out of Cincinnati’s bullpen to the tune of a 10-4 record and 2.93 ERA.
Kingery spent parts of three seasons with the Mariners and hit .255. He bounced between the majors and minors over the next three seasons with San Francisco and Oakland before returning to the Royals and spending 1995 in Omaha. A .349 average in 1996 with the Rockies highlighted Kingery’s career, but he was out of baseball after one more season in Colorado and his final season with the Pirates.
Kansas City and Seattle don’t have an extensive trade history, but they’ve made some interesting deals.