Royals' all-time Top 5 in-season trades
Will the Royals swing a deal before the July 31 Trade Deadline? Sometimes it takes years to determine how well a team did in a trade. With the benefit of hindsight, the following are the five most notable trades in franchise history that were conducted during the regular season, according to club reporter Dick Kaegel. Agree? Disagree? Comment below:
1. May 16, 1976: Royals obtain left-handed pitcher Larry Gura from Yankees for catcher Fran Healy.
Gura spent 10 years with the Royals and posted a 111-78 record, his winning percentage of .589 the second-best in club history. Twice, he won 18 games in a season. Gura helped Kansas City get into five postseasons and was a two-time All-Star, entering the Royals Hall of Fame in 1992.
Healy spent three years as a backup catcher for the Yankees and hit .250.
2. June 6, 1970: Royals obtain second baseman Cookie Rojas from Cardinals for outfielder Fred Rico.
Rojas brought leadership to a young expansion team, providing a solid base for future championships. He was an All-Star for four consecutive years, 1971-74, and batted .268 in 880 games for Kansas City. He was inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame in 1987.
Rico never got above Triple-A for St. Louis and his career ended in 1973.
3. May 17, 1985: Royals acquire left fielder Lonnie Smith from Cardinals for outfielder John Morris.
Smith took over the left-field spot and was an important cog as the Royals surged into the 1985 playoffs and then won the World Series against his old team. He hit .257 in 1985 and .287 in 1986. After playing only 48 games in 1987, Smith was released and signed with the Braves.
Morris spent five years with St. Louis, batting .247 as a part-time player.
4. June 7, 1983: Royals acquire left-handed pitcher Charlie Leibrandt from Reds for left-handed pitcher Bob Tufts.
Leibrandt, in six years with Kansas City, had a 76-61 record and a 3.60 ERA in 194 games including 181 starts. He helped the Royals get into the postseason in 1984 and '85, the year they won the World Series against the Cardinals.
Tufts never pitched in the Majors again.
5. July 29, 2012: Royals acquire right-handed pitcher Jeremy Guthrie from Rockies for left-handed pitcher Jonathan Sanchez.
Guthrie has been an important starting pitcher since coming over last midseason. He was 5-3 with a 3.16 ERA in 14 starts in 2012 and through May 14 this year, he'd made 18 straight starts without a loss. During that span he was 10-0 with a 2.21 ERA and the Royals were 16-2.
Sanchez struggled with the Rockies and was released this year by the Pirates. He signed a Minor League contract with the Dodgers.