Reaction To The Rays Trading James Shields & Wade Davis To The Royals For Wil Myers & More

James Shields Wil MyersNews broke last night that the Tampa Bay Rays and Kansas City Royals had agreed to a trade that sends Rays starting pitcher James Shields and relief pitcher Wade Davis to the Royals for their big time outfield prospect Wil Myers, pitching prospects Jake Odorizzi and Mike Montgomery, and third base prospect Patrick Leonard. Some people saw it coming, but how it just broke so randomly on a football Sunday night and because of the magnitude of it.

The Rays were dangling Shields for a bat and had dialogue going with the Royals since October about a deal. Rumors were swirling the last week that in any potential trade sending Shields to KC, that the Rays wanted not just outfield prospect Wil Myers, but they wanted more than that. Some could say, okay, sure, he has been a beast pitcher the last couple seasons, and all Myers is, is well, a prospect, he’s no sure thing. Some people view Myers so highly though, that they thought trading Shields for him straight up would be enough for Tampa Bay because they’re trading a 31-year-old #2 pitcher with a lot of miles on his arm, for a top three prospect in all of baseball who has all the tools to be a superstar in the majors. That wasn’t the case though, Tampa wanted more for Shields, so Kansas City decided to add more prospects to the deal, as long as they could take back one of the best relievers in baseball in 2012, in Wade Davis, who is a former top pitching prospect, who has never been good in the rotation and finally found his spark in the bullpen this year.

So Kansas City was able to grab another pitcher for the extra prospects they were asked to give up. The Royals will try to plug Davis into the rotation and try to fix him. If they can get him back into the rotation and pitching the way he does in the bullpen, they make this a better deal on their end. After having one of the worst rotations in baseball last year, the Royals have totally revamped it by adding an ACE for their team in Shields (who has gone 81-65 in his six full major league seasons, with a 3.85 ERA, 1,144 strikeouts, 1.20 WHIP, and finished third in the AL CY Young voting in 2011), who eats a lot of innings and is a strike out machine, re-signing Jeremy Guthrie, who pitched well for them after getting him from Colorado this past season (5-3, 3.16 ERA, 1.13 WHIP in 14 starts) to a three-year deal, trading for inconsistent Angels pitcher Ervin Santana, who had so much potential a few years ago and threw a no-hitter in 2011 and finished with a career best 3.38 ERA on an 11-12 record that year, and also by adding Davis who found his form last year in the bullpen (3-0, 2.43 ERA, 1.09 ERA, 87 strikeouts in 70.1 innings in 54 relief appearances). The question is, is how this team transforms and reacts to all the new faces on the team. The rotation does have some promise, but will still have to contend with a tough division with good hitting.

The Rays acquire big time outfield prospect Wil Myers who demolished the opposing pitching last year in AA and AAA to the tune of a .314 AVG, 37 homers, 109 RBI’s, .387 OBP, .600 SLUG, .987 OPS. In AAA, he played 99 games, compiling most of his 2012 minor league stats there (.304 AVG, 24 homers, 79 RBI’s, .378 OBP, .554 SLUG, .932 OPS). So this kid is definitely ready for the big time. Myers gives the Rays the young, big bat they want and need to pair with third baseman Evan Longoria and to replace B.J. Upton. The Rays will have complete control of Myers for six years for cheap, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they gave him an extension quickly into his major league career if he is tearing it up like the Rays did with Longoria back in 2008. That’s how the Rays operate and it’s a very smart idea since they are nowhere close to being a big market team and can’t afford big contracts, hence the reason they sign young talent to cheap extensions early into their careers. The Rays also get two solid pitching prospects, one of them is regarded as one of the better ones in baseball, Jake Odorizzi, who made his major league debut with KC this year with two September starts, combining both starts to go 7.1 innings, allowing four runs, all earned, on eight hits, four walks, and four strikeouts. The other pitching prospect is Mike Montgomery, who had a miserable 2012 campaign at AA and AAA, compiling a combined 5-12 record, with a 6.07 ERA, and 1.62 WHIP in 27 starts. He was one of the better prospects in baseball coming into 2012 but has major problems to fix in 2013. The final prospect is third baseman Patrick Leonard, who in 2012 (his only professional baseball season) in the Appalachian League, hit .251 with 14 homers, 46 RBI’s, .340 OBP, .494 SLUG, .833 OPS in 235 at bats. I love the haul that Tampa Bay got.

At first, when I read that the Royals will get Shields AND Davis, I said nice haul for Myers. That quickly went away when I heard that Tampa Bay would receive three other prospects, one of which is a major league ready pitcher who did very well in the minors. The Rays got a young major league ready pitcher, to go along with their awesome pitching they had already? The Rays GM Andrew Friedman is one hell of a negotiator and got a great haul for the two remaining years of Shields who has a lot of miles on his arm and a few years of solid reliever. This is all without mentioning that the Rays also got another solid pitching prospect in Montgomery, who yeah, did have a dreadful 2012, but can overcome it at age 23 in the minors and establish himself again, especially with the Rays great minor league system and development. Then they go and get another position prospect who will be blocked by Longoria at third base, but if he develops well and makes it to the big show, can perhaps transition to first base and give the Rays another potential scary bat in the lineup. What a haul the Rays got!

I do like this trade for Kansas City, I do somewhat, the rotation is improved big time and they finally have someone they can call an ACE in Shields, not to mention he held his own in the AL East and goes to a little bit of a weaker division in the AL Central. They also get a very good reliever who they hope to make a starter again and I think Davis will regain his form as a starter again. Do I think they over payed though? Yes, they gave up way too much for just two years of Shields and a few years of Davis who may only be good in the bullpen. Giving up a top prospect like Myers who they can control for six years, for two years of a 31-year-old pitcher is a bit much in my opinion, because by all estimations Myers is the real deal and will be a force in the MLB. Plus, with the way this organization develops pitchers, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Odorizzi and Montgomery become future stars in the Tampa Bay rotation. Yes, all Tampa Bay got were PROSPECTS, and that’s all they are right now, prospects, but the Royals traded too much talent and key future pieces with high ceilings and promise for Shields and Davis. I think this trade makes Andrew Friedman the best GM in baseball, but of course the prospects could flame out and Shields and David could help pitch Kansas City to a playoff berth, and well who knows, maybe even a World Series. I’m not saying they will, but I don’t think Kansas City has enough to beat Detroit, and even Chicago. If Kansas City doesn’t make the playoffs at least once with Shields, they totally fail with this trade. I just can’t see them making the playoffs with how stacked the AL East is, how tough and improved the AL West is, how much more I think Detroit and Chicago are in the AL Central.

I can’t repeat how much I love this trade for Tampa Bay, and I think this trade puts them over the top and makes them the best team in the AL East, with all their great pitching, and much more improved hitting. You gotta like a lineup that features Longoria, Myers, Ben Zobrist, Desmond Jennings as the key catalysts. The next question to ponder is what will the Rays do with David Price next winter? That question arises now because the Rays never extended him when he debuted and now he is a top 10 pitcher in all of baseball, is still young, just won the AL CY Young award, and is setting himself up for a huge payday once he hits free agency in a couple of years. The contract that Price will get will in no way be able to be matched by the small market Rays because they just don’t have that kind of money to throw at one player. So will the Rays dangle Price next winter and try to get even more future pieces? I wouldn’t be surprised to be honest.

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