The Kansas City Royals have made it clear: No. 1 prospect Wil Myers is available for major league, top-of-the-rotation pitchers—like Oakland Athletics ace Jarrod Parker. But should the ever-rebuilding A's kick the tires around regarding a Parker-for-Myers swap?
It's an intriguing inquiry for sure.
Considering general manager Billy Beane's tenacity for making big splashes in the trade market, a trade on this level wouldn't necessarily shock anyone. But would the acquisition be worth the sacrifice?
First, it would have to be Parker.
With the Royals seeking such high-quality pitching, if the two teams did exchange player names, the demand would likely be for Parker. Simply put, his combination of youth and proven talent make him the most desirable trade chip in the rotation.
Let's take a look at what Myers could bring to the A's organization, how Oakland could adjust without Parker and the future implications. Then, of course, a conclusion can be made.
Wil Myers, OF
The catcher-turned-outfielder enters the 2013 season at just 22 years old. The watch list heralds Myers as a player who can hit for both average and power, touting his on-base percentage as impressive as well.
Power. The A's need it. Average. The A's want it. A high on-base percentage. The A's love it.
At his age, he makes sense for a team that must build toward the future in creative ways, especially because he's under club control for six years already.
On the other hand, Parker himself is just 24.
As a rookie in 2012 (and only 23 years old), Parker became the ace, leading the team in wins (13) and strikeouts (140) while maintaining a 3.47 ERA. If he was able to show talent and poise then, imagine his production as he ages.
Returning to Myers, there's also the issue of his position: He's an outfielder, and he's slated to be a long-term right fielder at that.
The A's currently have a stockpile of outfielders.
Still, it's his potential that should have many teams pondering whether they should quickly take action. In the minor leagues last season, Myers hit a combined .314 with 37 home runs and 109 RBI. Furthermore, he maintained an on-base percentage of .387 and a slugging percentage of .600 (for a combined .987 OPS).
Yes, trading a guy like Parker for another outfielder doesn't make a lot of sense, but it's the future repercussions that are, at the very least, worth considering.
What Must Come Next If a Trade Occurred
The rotation hypothetically could be okay, but the A's would be pressed to sign a quality free agent. The best option would be the re-signing of Brandon McCarthy.
Behind McCarthy, the rotation still consists of Brett Anderson, Tommy Milone, A.J. Griffin and Bartolo Colon. Oakland also has Travis Blackley and Dan Straily as options. Furthermore, Sonny Gray and Brad Peacock await in the minor leagues. One of them could be 2013's version of Griffin or Straily.
The outfield is a different story. One of the incumbents would have to be moved.
Catcher and third base could be upgraded, but shortstop is a glaring hole and the primary need right now. It would seem counter-intuitive to send Cliff Pennington (a former shortstop) to Arizona for Chris Young (an outfielder), then ship an outfielder off for a shortstop a few months later. However, the first move, combined with this hypothetical move, would ultimately provide better upgrades all around.
With outfield and minor-league pitching depth, the A's could find an answer at shortstop.
Imagine swapping Coco Crisp or Chris Young in a package with one or two quality pitching prospects for Asdrubal Cabrera, Elvis Andrus, Jhonny Peralta or a youngster ready for major league action.
Oakland thus has a shortstop, their outfield remains stacked and the pitching—though weaker next year—is still built for dominance in the near future (although 2013 would remain a slim possibility).
In theory, trading Parker for Myers, then an outfielder and pitching combo for a shortstop, could work out very well.
It's worth considering.
Myers is younger than Yoenis Cespedes (27), Crisp (33) and Young (29). The Royals prospect may ultimately be more talented in the long run than Crisp and Young, and as talented as Cespedes.
But he could be a bust, too.
Oakland can consider Myers, and they realistically should. But what they've got in place is a young and talented team. Best of all, they're contenders.
Nothing is broken. Nothing needs fixing. It's just a matter of upgrading—something neither pitching nor the outfield needs right now. And in a dry shortstop trade market (and a worse free-agent pool), no move is overwhelmingly alluring.
Bottom-line: Oakland knows what they have with Parker—an ace yet to enter his prime—while Myers remains a "will he or won't he" prospect. Thinking and doing are two different actions, and in this case, unless Myers is already being compared to Bryce Harper or Mike Trout (which he isn't), the A's would be better served to refrain from taking action.
Now if the Royals accepted less in return (read: Straily, Dan)...
Well, that's a different story.