Okay, ex-Royals. So far this post-season, we've seen some very good performances by some ex-Royals. The other night, I watched Jose Lima throw a masterful complete game shutout against the St. Louis Cardinals. You might remember that Lima's career was resurrected by Royals GM Allard Baird last season when he plucked him out of the Independent League to help as the Royals pursued the AL Central title while fighting through injuries. Lima went 7-0 before himself suffering an injury. In the off-season, the Royals offered Lima a guaranteed contract, and instead, he took a chance by signing a Minor League contract with the Dodgers.
Lima's battery-mate in that game was Brent Mayne. Mayne came up with the Royals, left for a while, and returned in a trade in 2002. The Royals cut him loose after the 2003 season and he signed on with the Diamondbacks. The Dodger acquired him in the trade that sent Paul LoDuca to the Marlins.
Last night, Jeff Suppan got the win as the Cardinals finished off the Dodgers to head to the NLCS.
The Cardinals may face the Astros, whose center fielder is none other than Carlos Beltran who was drafted by the Royals and went to Houston in a mid-season trade this year.
The Astros are facing the Braves, who signed ex-Royal Paul Byrd after the 2002 season. Byrd hasn't had much luck in Atlanta, struggling with injuries and general ineffectiveness.
In the AL, the Red Sox' center fielder is Johnny Damon who was drafted by the Royals. The Royals traded him to Oakland, and he eventually signed with the BoSox and has had a great career there.
Of course, it would have been nice to see these players stay with the Royals. The reasons for their departure are many, but in several cases, it was the simple fact that the player had developed into a fine player and reached free agency. With the current state of baseball, the Royals simply could not have afforded to keep the player (see Carlos Beltran). Others simply didn't perform that well in KC (Suppan) and became expendable. Either way, it is kinda fun watching guys that you saw grow up see some success, even if with other teams.