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Kansas City Blues, Part II
2005-03-15 22:33
by Mike Carminati

Other entries in the Trade Series:

Mike: Iíll Take Manhattan: Baseballís Most Lopsided Trades: Parts I, I (revised), II

A Quick One (Happy Mike)

Lee Even Stevens: Parts I, IIóThe Sexy Version

Cain and A-RodóA Bling-Bling Rivalry: Parts I, II

Kansas City Blues: Part I

Studes: The Best and Worst Teams of the Trade

Smoltz for Alexander

When we last left our heroes, the New York Yankees and Kansas City A's, I introduced the concept of Interstitial Trade Value. The idea was that the Yankees used the KC A's as a means to develop talent, as am affiliate club in the major leagues ostensibly competing directly with the Yankees for a championship. Interstitial Trade Value is a means to evaluate their incestuous interconnected trades in terms of what each team received in the interstices, the slices of time that each traded player performed for that team.

The only problem was that I hadnít yet perform the data analysis to produce actual results. Well, that problem has been rectified. I now have a balance sheet of interstitial Win Shares and Win Shares Above Baseline (WSAB) for all 27 transactions between the two teams.

The first thing that struck me was that even though the Yankees "won" overall by about 71 Win Shares, but had an even larger edge in WSAB (79.32). That's something you donít see in trade histories. A team just doesnít get that much more WSAB, i.e. high-end talent, than Win Shares. Clearly, the Yankees were traded quantity for quality.

The Yankees really didn't outdo the A's in that many of the transactions (They both had advantages of at least 3 WSAB in three transactions and both "won" seven transactions in WSAB). They just clobbered them in the ones they did "win" though.

Here are their most lopsided trades (based on Interstitial WSAB):


Date: February 19, 1957
Trade: A's sent Bobby Shantz, Jack McMahan, Art Ditmar, Wayne Belardi, and two players to be named later (Clete Boyer, June 4, 1957 and Curt Roberts, April 4, 1957) to the Yankees Irv Noren, Milt Graff, Mickey McDermott, Tom Morgan, Rip Coleman, Billy Hunter, and for a player to be named later (Jack Urban, April 5, 1957).
Pre Career WS Diff: 110 (favoring KC)
Post Career WS Diff: 193 (NYY)
Pre Year WS Diff: 0
Post Year WS Diff: 4 (KC)
WSAB Pre Career Diff: 26 (KC)
WSAB Post Career Diff: 83 (NYY)
WSAB Pre Yr Diff: 0
WSAB Post Yr Diff: 6(NYY)
Int WS: 160 (NYY)
Int WSAB: 71 (NYY)

Bobby Shantz and Clete Boyer for not a whole lot. This one we know was a setup. Boyer was signed by the A's to a $40 K bonus in 1955 at the behest of the Yankees, the team later admitted. Note that the performance prior to the trade favors the A's and after favors the Yankees. This is the prototype: trade age and quantity for youth and quality.


Date: December 11, 1959
Trade: A's sent Roger Maris, Joe DeMaestri, and Kent Hadley to the Yankees for Hank Bauer, Don Larsen, Norm Siebern, and Marv Throneberry.
Pre Career WS Diff: 183 (favoring KC)
Post Career WS Diff: 11 (KC)
Pre Year WS Diff: 0
Post Year WS Diff: 1 (NYY)
WSAB Pre Career Diff: 85 (KC)
WSAB Post Career Diff: 21 (NYY)
WSAB Pre Yr Diff: 0
WSAB Post Yr Diff: 10(NYY)
Int WS: 44 (NYY)
Int WSAB: 34 (NYY)

The 37-year-old Bauer would play parts of two seasons with the A's, and Larson would go 2-10 in less than 100 innings in a little over a year. Siebern was a productive player for four seasons in KC.

Maris would win two straight MVPs over the next two seasons, and, oh yeah, he would break Babe Ruth's single-season home run record in two years.

This may even be a better example of Yankee-KC trades than the first. The Yankees traded bigger names to get the player they needed. It's telling that they lost the post-trade career Win Share battle, given that they gave up four players. The won the Interstitial battle and the post-trade WSAB battle.


Date: October 16, 1956
Trade: A's purchase Bob Cerv from the Yankees.
Int WS: 53 (KC)
Int WSAB: 24 (KC)

Casey Stengel famously informed Cerv of this trade by saying, "Nobody knows this, but one of us has been traded to Kansas City."

Cerv was one player for which the Yankee strategy never worked. He was a decent bench player in New York until age 30. Then after being exiled to the A's he had two monster seasons (1958 38/104 /.305 and 1959 20/87/.285). In the middle of the next season, the Yankees traded to get Cerv back. He gave them an average half-season and then was drafted by the expansion Angels. The Yankees must have acquired a taste for Cerv because they traded to get him back mid-1961. He was stinking up the place (.118 BA) by 1962.

Like Marty Fufkin, the Yankees had no timing where it came to Cerv.


Date: May 26, 1959
Trade: A's sent Ralph Terry and Hector Lopez to the Yankees for Jerry Lumpe, Johnny Kucks, and Tom Sturdivant.
Pre Career WS Diff: 9 (favoring NYY)
Post Career WS Diff: 2 (NYY)
Pre Year WS Diff: 6 (NYY)
Post Year WS Diff: 2 (NYY)
WSAB Pre Career Diff: 4 (NYY)
WSAB Post Career Diff: 9(NYY)
WSAB Pre Yr Diff: 2 (NYY)
WSAB Post Yr Diff: 7(NYY)
Int WS: 56 (NYY)
Int WSAB: 22 (NYY)

The Yankees get Terry back after sending him to KC for seasoning. Lumpe turned into a decent middle infielder for the A's, but that was really a surprise.


Date: March 30, 1955:
Trade: A's purchase Tom Gorman from the Yankees.
Int WS: 38 (KC)
Int WSAB: 18 (KC)

Gorman was another superfluous player exiled to KC. He had a decent career as a reliever and part-time starter there, but never performed so well that the Yankees tried to get him back.

The rest of the transactions resulted in no more than four Interstitial WSAB. So that's it. The Yankees clobbered the A's with those three big trades. The A's got a couple of decent players shipped from NYC. It seems kind of anticlimactic, but it does establish a pattern that at best does not speak well of the A's decision-making. Given that the Yankees were typically shipping bench players or marginal starters to and from the A's, the rest of the trades really don't seem to make much of an impact.

2005-03-16 05:32:45
1.   Mike Carminati
By the way, I should have mentioned that the best trade between the two that favored the A's was Wally Burnette for Tommy Lasorda, July 11, 1956. Lasorda never pitched for the Yankees or any other team again, though he was sent to the Dodgers mid-1957. Burnette had a good half year in KC in 1956, his rookie year (10 WS, 4 above baseline). He had two so-so seasons after that, but his post-trade career totals were 17 WS/4 WSAB (all in 1956). His interstitial differences are the same.

That's the best the A's did in 15 trades with the Yankees.

2005-03-16 07:29:55
2.   Mike Carminati
My friend Murray points out that it's Artie, not Marty, Fufkin. And then he "shame shame"'d me.

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