I wanted to do a little analysis of some of the differences between the Royals' path and the A's as it pertains to some of the trades that each team has made over the past several years, just to demonstrate how much this particular aspect of the organization has hurt the Royals over the past several seasons:
First, a sampling of what Billy Beane has done:
Mark Mulder-1st round pick in 1998. Traded in 2004 for Kiko Calero, Daric Barton, and Dan Haren. While Calero is long-gone and Barton hasn't made any impact, the A's got several outstanding years of Haren, and then traded-
Dan Haren, traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Brett Anderson (minors), Chris Carter (minors), Aaron Cunningham, Dana Eveland, Carlos Gonzalez and Greg Smith. Anderson and Eveland are still a big piece of the A's future, Cunningham is currently on the team although not performing well (only 23), and Gonzalez and Smith were traded-
Matt Holliday for Brett Wallace, who is a top prospect in AAA and also expected to be part of the next A's core.
So, for Mark Mulder the team ended up with 2 pitchers and 2 hitters who are all projected to be a part of the core of the next generation of good A's teams. The point is, that the trade of a single good player drafted 11 years ago is still producing results for the A's, both now and into the next several years.
Let's look at a couple of Royals' trades for reference, shall we?
Johnny Damon-35th pick in 1992. The Royals got several productive seasons out of him and then traded-
Damon and Mark Ellis! to the A's for Angel Berroa, AJ Hinch and Roberto Hernandez. Other than a RoY campaign in 2003 from Berroa, the Royals ended up with jack squat. Meanwhile, Damon has gone on to win a WS ring and continue to be one of the better hitters in baseball, and Mark Ellis has been a fixture at 2nd for the A's for several years.
Not convinced? OK, how about this?
For Neifi Perez. Enough said, let's move on.
I could do the Beltran trade, but we all know how that one's turned out. I could also mention the Appier trade (D'Amico, Rigby, Stein) or David Cone (Sinnes, Medrano, Stynes) but that would be piling on.
What is the point? The point is that while Billy Beane has made trades that have continued to help his team, the Royals are STILL digging out from trades of the few productive players they had for NOTHING. Trades that were made several years ago can and do have a very lasting impact on an organization, both good and bad. We are still seeing the negative impact of this series of historically bad trades in KC. It's not going to get fixed overnight.