Monday, December 10, 2012
Now that the dust has settled and knee-jerk Twitter comments basically reducing Dayton Moore to a sad clown of a GM have subsided (somewhat), the blockbuster deal doesn't look so terribly lopsided in the Rays favor. It's not like Moore completely scorched the Royals farm and salted the earth. Besides, if the Royals win the World Series after making this trade, giant fireballs will destroy the planet leaving all of these article pointless anyway.
About That Deal: Royals GM Dayton Moore finally got the ace of his Hot Stove pitching triumvirate adding James Shields to Ervin Santana and Jeremy Guthrie. And, oh, how will they rule the AL Central with the same power of Gaius Julius Caesar, Marcus Licinius Crassus, and Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus. Along with two reasonably controlled seasons of Shields, the Royals are receiving starter/reliever/starter/? Wade Davis and a PTBNL or some sweet Tampa cash.
The Rays get a package of prospects led by minor league player of the year Wil Myers. Myers is a 22-year-old outfielder who hit 37 home runs between Double-A and Triple-A in 2012 and strikes out a bit/a lot. RHP Jake Odorizzi, LHP Mike Montgomery and 3B Patrick Leonard also leave the Royals farm for Tampa Bay's.
Win Now Without Money: The Royals at least have an allowance but not enough to shop at major department stores. While they can afford starting pitchers like Santana, Guthrie, Bruce Chen and sometimes Gil Meche, the Royals just don't ever have elite guys like Zack Greinke. From 2007-2012, Shields is 13th in MLB with a 23.4 fWAR. And a respectable 3.80 ERA. The Royals will pay him around $22 million for two years before Shields hits free agency. He gives them a front line pitcher to go with a young and currently inexpensive core of position players. The Royals will give Davis another rotation look after he excelled in the pen.
The Rays, taking a page from my book, have no money. But they're crafty. Thanks to good drafts and smart trades, the Rays can replace (to an extent) Shields in the rotation with Chris Archer, Alex Cobb or even Odorizzi. While Davis was great in his bullpen role, the Rays have a history of procuring prolific pen pieces. Adding Myers, at first glace, looks like another steal. Myers will likely start the year in right field for the Rays and make preseason Rookie of the Year lists. In classic Rays style, Myers will be dirt cheap for a few years and under control for six. Same with Odorizzi and Montgomery who isn't quite the prospect he used to be.
Then There's The Uncertainty: Dave Cameron nails it. But in summary, yeah, there's uncertainty. As Royals-side trade supporters point out, prospects can fail. This is news to me and I will ask Brandon Wood if it's true the next time he bags my groceries at what I assume is his winter job. Wil Myers could be a bust. His name is spelled incorrectly after all. Or he could be an All Star, next season.
The same Royals defenders (okay, it's mainly Jeff Passan) claim Kansas City is getting a "known quantity" in Shields. Roy Halladay, Dan Haren, Tim Lincecum, Josh Beckett and Jon Lester are all ahead of Shields on that fWAR from 2007-2012 leader board. Uncertainty is a dish best served cold. Wait, that's not it. Cameron's point, that I borrowed, is uncertainty doesn't only exist at the prospect level.
Concerns: Shields has a career 3.33 home ERA and 4.54 road ERA. Jeff Francoeur will continue to get playing time in the Royals outfield.
Myers' strikeout percentage jumped to 20.9% as he did to Double-A in 2011. It jumped again to 27.6% in Double-A in 2012 before "coming down" to 22.3% in Triple-A.