The Kansas City Royals have gone through some lean years since winning the World Series in 1985. A big reason for those struggles was a series of personnel decisions that sent Royal favorites on to future stardom. Here's a look at the Top 10 "Royals that Got Away".
1. David Cone - Prior to the 1987 season, Cone was traded with Chris Jelic to the New York Mets for Ed Hearn, Rick Anderson and Mauro Gozzo.
With Royals: 0-0 W-L, 5.56 ERA, 22.2 IP, 21 K
After Royals (came back to KC in 1993-94): 194-126, 3.43 ERA, 2,647 K
2. Johnny Damon – In a three-way trade involving the A's, Royals, and Tampa Bay Devil Rays, the A's received Damon along with pitcher Cory Lidle from the Devil Rays and second baseman Mark Ellis from the Royals.
With Royals: .292 avg, 65 HR, 352 RBI, 156 SB
After Royals: .281 avg, 170 HR, 785 RBI, 251 SB
3. Jermaine Dye - Kansas City Royals trade Jermaine Dye to the Colorado Rockies for Neifi Perez, then the Rockies trade Dye to the Oakland Athletics for three minor league prospects: infielder Jose Ortiz, outfielder Mario Encarnacion and left-handed pitcher Todd Belitz.
With Royals: .284 avg, 85 HR, 329 RBI
After Royals: .269 avg, 164 HR, 461 RBI
4. Carlos Beltran – June 24, 2004, Beltrán was traded to the Houston Astros in a three-team deal, which also sent relief pitcher Octavio Dotel from the Astros to the Oakland Athletics, while the Royals picked up Oakland minor leaguers (pitcher Mike Wood and third-baseman Mark Teahen) and Astros catcher John Buck.
With Royals: .287 avg, 123 HR, 516 RBI
After Royals: .281 avg, 199 HR, 695 RBI
5. Tom Gordon – Signed as free agent with Boston Red Sox in 1996
With Royals: 79-71 W-L, 4.02 ERA, 3 saves
After Royals: 46-39 W-L, 3.95 ERA, 155 saves
6. Raul Ibanez – Signed as free agent with Seattle Mariners in 2004
With Royals: .291 avg, 55 HR, 247 RBI
After Royals: .279 avg, 194 HR, 785 RBI
7. Jon Lieber - 1993 minor leaguers Jon Lieber and Dan Miceli were traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for reliever Stan Belinda.
With Royals: Minor League Only
After Royals: 131-124 W-L, 4.27 ERA, 1,553 K
8. Melky Cabrera - On November 7, 2011, Cabrera was traded to the San Francisco Giants for left-handed pitcher Jonathan Sánchez and minor league pitcher Ryan Verdugo.
With Royals (2011): .305 avg, 18 HR, 87 RBI
After Royals (2012): .353 avg, 8 HR, 44 RBI (All-Star Game MVP)
9. Jose Bautista – After playing for Baltimore and Tampa then Kansas City he was sent to the New York Mets on July 30, 2004 and without playing a game for New York, was traded back to Pittsburgh, then traded to Toronto in 2008.
With Royals: 5 for 25, 0 HR
After Royals: .254 avg, 183 HR, 501 RBI
10. Lou Piniella – After the 1973 season, Piniella was traded by the Royals with Ken Wright to the New York Yankees for Lindy McDaniel.
With Royals: .286 avg, 45 HR, 348 RBI
After Royals: .295 avg, 57 HR, 417 RBI (1,835 wins as manager)Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times