Eric Hosmer’s return to Kansas City this weekend – his first visit as an opposing player – brought back fond memories of the Royals’ glory years when they won back-to-back pennants, including a championship in 2015. It’s been seven years since that magical season, and everyone but World Series MVP Salvador Perez has moved on.
In fact, only four members of that 2015 roster are still on the big league rosters, as a tweet from 610 Sports’ Josh Vernier points out.
Only four members of the 2015 Royals are currently active on a big league roster. (Hosmer, Perez, Moose, Cueto)
—Josh Vernier (@JoshVernier610) August 4, 2022
Hosmer signed with San Diego in 2018 but was traded to Boston last week after a disappointing tenure with the Padres. Mike Moustakas re-signed with the Royals in 2018, but they traded him to Milwaukee that summer and he went on to a long-term contract with the Reds where he only hits 0.202/0.290/0.332 in 70 games this year. And Johnny Cueto went to the Giants where he had an injury-filled tenure but bounced back to be a solid pitcher with the White Sox with a 2.91 ERA in 96 innings.
Greg Holland, Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar were on MLB rosters earlier this year, but Holland was fired in April by the Rangers, Cain was slated for the Brewers assignment in June and Escobar was released by the Nationals last week. Danny Duffy is still technically on a roster, but he’s been on the Dodgers’ injured reserve all season. You could also technically count Adalberto Mondesi, who wasn’t on the regular-season roster but made his World Series debut but is now on the injured list with the Royals.
Some players from this team are still trying to return to the big leagues. Brandon Finnegan – who was traded to the Reds for Cueto that summer – pitches in Triple-A for the White Sox. Left-handed reliever Scott Alexander is trying to recover from an injury with the Dodgers. Aaron Brooks has thrown a few innings for the Cardinals this year and is currently in Triple-A. Michael Mariot launches the Tigers’ best affiliate. Speedster Terrance Gore is in the Mets organization – we may see him in the playoffs.
But many other players have moved on to the next phase of their careers. Drew Butera is a bullpen coach for the Angels. Christian Colon is a minor league coach in the Royals organization. Chris Young leads the Rangers organization as general manager. Jonny Gomes competes in MLB’s Home Run Derby X competition.
Is it unusual for a championship team to age so quickly? Commentator KCFan55 looked back at past pennant winners and found that the 2015 Royals were older than any team to win a pennant since then, with an average age of 29.2. Good teams tend to be older teams, and age eventually comes around for all of us. If you look back to the 1985 championship Royals, there were nine players still on active MLB rosters seven years later in 1992:
- George Brett (still on the Royals)
- Willie Wilson (Athletics)
- Lonnie Smith (Braves)
- Jaime Quirk (Athletics)
- Charlie Leibrandt (Braves)
- Bret Saberhagen (Mets)
- Mark Gubicza (still on the Royals)
- Danny Jackson (Cubs/Pirates)
- Black Bud (Giants)
- Steve Farr (Yankees)
But the 1985 Royals also featured a very young pitching staff – the average age was 25.8 compared to an average age of 30 for 2015 Royals pitchers.
Either way, it was fun to see Eric Hosmer back in Kansas City, but it was also a reminder that time flies, enjoy the good times while you can.