Of course, the complete randomness of 2003 threw everything off in everyone’s mind for at least another two years. Its hard to imagine now, but there was actually an eighteen month period (or so) when Allard Baird was being supported by not only casual fans, but the hardcores as well, including the national smart set. He’d always had good scouting bona fides and had had some success finding bit players in strange places. Now, he’d embraced OBP and a Beane-esque drafting strategy. He choose Calvin Pickering over Ken Harvey (for about five seconds) and on and on. The ironic thing is this: by the time he traded Beltran, just about everyone had given up on him again, even though in hindsight, its hard to imagine a better move he ever made. When the Royals collapsed again in 2004, we were back at square one: we can’t keep our good players, and we trade them for pennies on the dollar. It didn’t help either when it turned out that, again, Oakland was involved as one of the trading partners.
So, in honor of the Santana trade, in honor of all these bad memories, lets look back at the Beltran deal, when the Royals said goodbye to likely the best position player the team had had since George Brett. The way we were, 2004.
This doesn't have nearly enough impact without reminding everyone that from '98 to '01, the Royals outfield was Beltran, Damon, and Dye.
They may all be heading downhill now, but three or four years ago that lineup would have been sickening.
Can't say I know all that much about the Royals finances, and I'd like to think that they did what they had to do... but man have they had some good players come through that team. They've still got a lot of stud prospects on their way up, but you have to question how long they'll be staying there.
Baird doomed himself when he threw his entire legacy into the Mike Sweeney contract. When a quarter of your team's salary is going to a DH with a bad back you are not long for the job. Baird certainly came out better in the Beltran trade than he did the Dye and Damon trades. Buck may never turn into a good catcher, Teahen will likely never repeat 2006, and Mike Wood is exactly what most people thought he was (end of the rotation starter or long reliever), but it doesn't matter. Neifi Perez, Angel Berroa, and AJ Hinch set the bar so low that anything would look great by comparison.