According to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star, the Kansas City Royals have at least discussed trading top prospect Wil Myers in a package to bring Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher James Shields and some type of package to the Midwest.
This type of deal would work out perfectly for both teams.
From Kansas City's perspective, they would be getting a legitimate top-of-the-rotation ace in Shields.
Last season, he went 15-10 with a 3.52 ERA. He struck out 223 hitters in just under 228 innings pitched. On top of that, he only issued 58 walks, which comes out to approximately one walk every four innings.
In 2011, he did even better at 16-12 with an incredibly low 2.82 ERA. That ERA is significant because he posted it in the American League East. In a tough division, it is hard to keep runners from crossing the plate.
The fact that he had survived so well in a tough division can only mean good things if he transitions to the somewhat less competitive American League Central.
The Royals have already made large investments in their pitching staff for this season. They brought back Jeremy Guthrie after a successful finish to the season and traded for Ervin Santana. Both of these men fit into the middle of the rotation, but neither one belongs at the top.
Shields would be that option, and he is still under team control for two seasons. With the right pieces coming in, perhaps the Royals could be the Washington Nationals of 2013.
When young talent combines with solid veterans, the results can be significant.
Of course, even with this potential benefit, giving up one of the best prospects in baseball would not be an easy decision.
Myers split his time between double-A and triple-A last season, and he simply dominated. He hit .314 with 37 home runs and 109 RBI.
He saw a majority of his time last year in center field, which is coincidentally the position that B.J. Upton just vacated on the Tampa Bay roster.
Myers is going to be 22 when the baseball season begins, and the Rays have made a business of turning young players into superstars. David Price and Carl Crawford (before his recent injury trouble) have been obvious examples of this development.
Any prospect is risky, but Myers is about as safe as any prospect in baseball right now. He has a career .303 batting average with an average of 27 home runs and 79 RBI per 162 games. Last season was an improvement on that, but even his average numbers are solid.
Obviously, as in any trade, both teams are making sacrifices.
However, both teams will be filling major holes with All-Star caliber talent. Granted, Tampa Bay might have to wait a little while for Myers to develop into an All-Star, but if he continues on the same track he has been, it should not be very long until that reward is realized.
Kansas City will probably not be able to keep Shields after he becomes a free agent in two years, but the powerful lineup they are developing right now behind the bats of Billy Butler, Eric Hosmer and Alex Gordon should begin to provide substantial run support. With a pitching staff that can keep opponents in check, the victories should finally start coming in.
Both teams have a lot to gain from this trade, and if it happens, I do not foresee either team being sorry.
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