Another postseason has passed and more former Royals have added themselves to the list of players who found postseason glory immediately after leaving Kansas City, including World Series champions Gregor Blanco and Jose Mijares. To honor their serendipitous luck, today I bring you the Royals all-time Post Royals All-Playoff Team.
By BEN NIELSEN
The Kansas City Star
The rules are simple. First, the player could not have been on the Kansas City Royals 1985 roster. Second, the player must have made the playoffs after being with the Kansas City Royals. While players like Greg Gagne, Jeff King and Kirk Gibson did make the playoffs in their career, none of them did so after leaving Kansas City, and therefore did not make the cut.
So, here we go!
A quick note: All WAR numbers come from the irreplaceable Baseball-Reference website.
Catcher: Mike MacFarlane (Career WAR: 13)
Mike MacFarlane was a very solid catcher for the Royals for 11 seasons who posted a .252/.322./.430 slash line in 890 games, and now owns and runs Mac-N-Seitz, a baseball and softball training facility in Kansas City.
MacFarlane sandwiched a one-year stint with the Boston Red Sox in 1995 before re-signing with the Royals the following year. The Red Sox would make the playoffs (losing in the ALDS to Cleveland 3-0), aided, in part, by noted steroid user Jose Cansecos 24 home runs and .933 OPS. Mo Vaughn pounded 39 homers that season and won the AL MVP award.
But we Royals fans know Bostons real key to success was MacFarlane and his 15 home runs (we will ignore his .225 batting average in 420 plate appearances).
MacFarlane was three for nine with a run batted in his lone playoff appearance.
First base: Jose Offerman (Career WAR: 14.8)
Offerman was a bat-first infielder who hit .306/.385/.419 in three seasons with the Royals after being traded to the Royals by the Los Angeles Dodgers for Billy Brewer. Offerman used those three years to sign a four-year, $24 million deal with Boston. While Offerman played mostly shortstop and second base during his career, he did log nearly 2000 innings playing first base, which was good enough for me to qualify him as a first baseman.
Jose would play in three postseason series, two with the Red Sox (1999) and one with the Minnesota Twins (2004) though he would appear in just one game (went 0 for 3 with an RBI).
The 1999 postseason was owned by Offerman, even though the New York Yankees would go on to win the World Series (again). Jose was 18 for 42 (.429) with a double, triple, home run, eight RBIs, eight runs scored and, maybe most remarkably for a former Royal, eight walks (in 50 PAs) to just three strikeouts.
Second base: Tony Graffanino (Career WAR: 13.4)
Graffanino spent parts of three seasons with the Royals from 2004 to 2006, including being traded to the Red Sox* in 2005 before the trade deadline. At first glance Graffaninos numbers were pretty good, batting .274/.349/.374 with 11 homers in 781 plate appearances. The problem was that this was the steroid era, so his .723 OPS with the Royals was only good for a 90 OPS+. Still, thats better than Chris Getz (cheap shot, I know).
*Have you noticed a Red Sox trend yet?
Graffanino had two playoff appearances with the Atlanta Braves in 1997 and 1998 as well as a playoff appearance with the Chicago White Sox in 2000 before signing with the Royals. The lone post-Royals playoff appearance was with the Red Sox in 05, who were swept 3-0 by the Seattle Mariners. Graffy was three for 12 with two doubles in the series.
Shortstop: Jay Bell (Career WAR: 34.1)
Bell may have only played one season with the Royals (1997), but it was enough for him to end up being one of the Royals best offensive shortstops in franchise history by posting a .291/.368/.461 with 21 home runs and 28 doubles. He is the only shortstop in Royals history to have a season with an OPS over .800 and is one of two Royals, the other being Angel Berroa (.789, 2003), to have an OPS over .725. In fact, the Royals have only had three middle infielders post an OPS over .800 in their history: Bell, Alberto Callaspo (.813, 2009) and Offerman (.841, 1998).*
*It should be noted that Should Be Hall of Famer Frank White (in the non-steroid era of the 1980s) had three seasons where he posted an OPS of .756 (1984), .787 (1986) and .788 (1982). So, yeah, he was good.
Bell signed a five-year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks (hey, its not the Red Sox for once) after his year in Kansas City and went the playoffs twice, including a World Series title over the Yankees in 2001. Bell was just six for 29 in four playoff series with Arizona.
Third base: Joe Randa (Career WAR: 18.5)
Joe Randa, a.k.a The Joker, is the runaway choice for third basemen for this list even though he only played in once postseason series in his career.
Randa was an underrated cog of the 1999 (856 runs) and 2000 (879 runs) lineups that remain the top two run-scoring offenses in 44 years of Royals baseball. In those two seasons Randa batted a combined .309/.354/.456 with 31 homers and 180 runs scored. Randa was one of nine third basemen in that time span to have played at least 290 games and have an OPS over .800. Of course, no one could match up with Chipper Jones during that time (.315/.422/.599, 81 homers, 221 BB, 158 K) but you'd be hard pressed to find many third basemen as good and consistent as Randa was for the Royals during those two seasons.
After his second stint with the Royals - a period of six seasons from 1999 to 2004 - Randa signed as a free agent with the Cincinnati Reds and then was traded to the San Diego Padres in July of 2005. Randa struggled for the rest of the season, but had a solid NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals where he hit 4 for 11 with a double, walk and run scored in 12 plate appearances. The Padres lost the series 3-0.
Speaking of the 1999 and 2000 Royals...
Outfield: Jermaine Dye (16.5), Carlos Beltran (62.3), Johnny Damon (52.1).
Say hello to the heart-of-the-order that could have been (and was briefly) in the 2000's.
There is a great deal we could say about these three players, like the 30 combined playoff series appearances, the Gold Gloves, the MVP votes, the combined 894 homers, the wins. But I think the most relevant and telling thing about these three players can be told by what the Royals received for them in trades.
John Buck (total WAR with Royals: 1). Mark Teahan (2.4). Mike Wood (0.4). A.J. Hinch (-0.4). Angel Berroa (0.9). Roberto Hernandez (1.2). Neifi Perez (-2.6). Total: 2.9 WAR.
The total WAR of Damon, Dye and Beltran after they left KC: 84.1.
Everything you need to know about the Royals for the last decade is right there.
Bench: Raul Ibanez (OF, Career WAR: 17.4), Bo Jackson (OF, WAR: 7.2), Mark Ellis (IF, WAR: 28.5), Brent Mayne (C, WAR: 1.3).
**We all saw the heroics of Raul Ibanez this past postseason with the Yankees, including two homers that clinched the AL East. Ibanez found and re-made himself in Kansas City.
**"When God chiseled out an athlete, he chiseled out Bo Jackson." - Harold Reynolds
Bo Jackson was awesome, and would likely DH for this team. You could make a strong argument for him starting over Damon in left field and I wouldn't be upset with it.
**I had a hard time starting Mark Ellis simply because he never actually played a game for the Royals, but I think you could make a strong case he should play over Graffanino.
**Brent Mayne is in here for roster purposes. I mean, you have to have a backup catcher and utility infielder on a fictional "all-time" list, right? No? Oh.
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