Royals' Top 5 Winter Meetings deals

December 7th, 2020

KANSAS CITY -- As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Winter Meetings will be held virtually and not as an in-person event this year.

But there still will be transactions -- for example, the Royals recently agreed to a two-year deal with left-hander Mike Minor and signed a one-year deal with outfielder Michael A. Taylor.

And there could be more moves this month. So what were the all-time best Winter Meetings deals the Royals pulled off? Let’s take a look, and for argument’s sake, let’s include those deals that either happened at the Winter Meetings or were orchestrated there and announced later.

1. The Wil Myers trade, Dec. 9, 2012
Acquired from Rays: RHP , RHP , INF Elliot Johnson
Dealt by Royals: OF , 3B Patrick Leonard, LHP Mike Montgomery, RHP Jake Odorizzi

This deal by general manager Dayton Moore and his staff will go down in club lore as the trade that ultimately pushed the Royals back into relevance, eventually leading to back-to-back World Series appearances in 2014-15 and their '15 title. Myers was arguably Kansas City’s top prospect at the time, and columnists and bloggers shrieked in horror at the notion of trading him. But Moore was adamant that it was time the Royals turned the corner from rebuilding to winning, and Shields was a huge influence in the clubhouse and on the field in that transition. Shields helped Kansas City reach that '14 Fall Classic, while Davis eventually converted from the rotation to the bullpen and dominated as a closer in '15. Davis got the last three outs in Game 5 of the World Series against the Mets to clinch the championship.

2. The Zack Greinke trade, Dec. 19, 2010
Acquired from Brewers: CF , SS , RHP Jeremy Jeffress, RHP Odorizzi
Dealt by Royals: RHP , SS , cash considerations

The Myers trade gets the most credit for the Royals’ turnaround, but it was this Moore move that planted the seeds for the team’s revival. Greinke wanted out anyway, and Betancourt was not a fit for Kansas City in the field. The Royals got their defensive-minded shortstop in Escobar, who was the Most Valuable Player of the 2015 American League Championship Series. And they got Cain, who evolved into one of the best overall center fielders in the game. Odorizzi later became a selling piece in the Myers-Shields trade.

3. The Hal McRae trade, Nov. 30, 1972
Acquired from Reds: OF Hal McRae, RHP Wayne Simpson
Dealt by Royals: RHP Roger Nelson, OF Richie Scheinblum

Neither Nelson nor Scheinblum distinguished themselves after leaving Kansas City. And actually, both of them ended up back with the Royals briefly before retiring. Meanwhile, while George Brett was the club's most talented player during the 1970s and ‘80s, McRae without question became the heart and soul of the team. His competitive drive, and his bone-wrecking slides into second base, became synonymous with Royals baseball then. McRae finished his career with 2,091 hits, and his 133 RBIs in '82 was a franchise record that stood until 2000, when Mike Sweeney drove in 144. McRae, a Royals Hall of Famer, later managed Kansas City from '91-94.

4. The Amos Otis trade, Dec. 3, 1969
Acquired from Mets:
OF , RHP Bob Johnson
Dealt by Royals: 3B Joe Foy

While Foy only lasted two more seasons in the big leagues, Otis enjoyed a 14-year career with the Royals and became arguably the best center fielder in franchise history. Otis, a Royals Hall of Famer, hit 193 home runs and stole 340 bases for Kansas City. He was a five-time All-Star and a three-time Gold Glove Award winner.

5. The David Cone signing, Dec. 8, 1992

Owner Ewing Kauffman brought back , the Kansas City kid who had been dealt away five years earlier in the infamous Ed Hearn trade -- arguably the worst trade in Royals history (though the Bret Saberhagen trade in 1991 ranks up there as well). Kauffman gave Cone a three-year, $18 million deal, making him the highest-paid pitcher in baseball at the time. Cone didn’t disappoint, winning the AL Cy Young Award in '94 after going 16-5 with a 2.94 ERA.

Honorable mention: The Fred Patek trade, Dec. 2, 1970

Acquired from Pirates: SS , RHP Bruce Dal Canton, C Jerry May
Dealt by Royals: C Jim Campanis, SS Jackie Hernandez, RHP Bob Johnson

Patek was the Royals shortstop during their rise to greatness in the 1970s and became a Royals Hall of Famer.

Honorable mention: The John Mayberry trade, Dec. 2, 1971

Acquired from Astros: 1B , 3B Dave Grangaard
Dealt by Royals: LHP Lance Clemons, RHP Jim York

Big John Mayberry, a Royals Hall of Famer, was ahead of his time, a power hitter with an extremely high on-base percentage. He led the league in walks twice, and in 1975 he tallied a career-high 34 home runs and 106 RBIs and had a .416 OBP.

Honorable mention: The Wade Davis trade, Dec. 7, 2016

Acquired from Cubs: OF
Dealt by Royals: RHP Davis

Soler finally got healthy in 2019 and set the franchise record with 48 home runs, soaring past the mark Mike Moustakas had set just two seasons prior (38).