James Shields and Wade Davis Not Enough to Validate Wil Myers Trade for KC

Ethan GrantAnalyst IDecember 10, 2012

PHILADELPHIA - JUNE 24: Relief pitcher Wade Davis #40 of the Tampa Bay Rays throws a pitch during game two of an interleague game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on June 24, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
Hunter Martin/Getty Images

In a shocking move, the Tampa Bay Rays and Kansas City Royals have agreed to a trade that will send pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis to Kansas City in exchange for Wil Myers, the 2012 Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year.

According to CBSSports.com, the basics of the trade also include minor leaguers Patrick Leonard (3B), Jake Odorizzi (P) and Mike Montgomery (P).

With Davis and Shields the only return for Kansas City, save for a player to be named later, this is a colossal mistake for a franchise that had the opportunity to build around Myers, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas in the near future. 

Sure, the Royals added Shields to the top of a rotation that includes Bruce Chen, Ervin Santana and Jeremy Guthrie. But with Davis as the only other return from the deal that sent four players to Tampa, this trade could potentially set the franchise back in the long-term.

Make no mistake: Davis is a quality young starter in waiting. He held that title with the Rays from late 2009 to 2011, but he was supplanted in the rotation by budding star Matt Moore in 2012.

His career stats are nice too. Davis is a career 28-22 pitcher with a 3.94 ERA. He has two complete games and pitched a career-high 184 innings in 2011. He went to the bullpen in 2012, where he responded by posting 11.1 strikeouts per nine innings.

By all accounts, Davis is a great pitcher. But Myers is something else entirely.

Minor League Players of the Year don't just fly by the wayside. Tampa Bay would know. It now has had four of the last 11 winners on its roster at one point, including Rocco Baldelli, Delmon Young and Jeremy Hellickson. Other players on that list include Derek Jeter, Joe Mauer and—you guessed it—Mike Trout.

Some feel Myers could be the next big thing in the outfield after posting a .314/.387/.600 line during his time at Double-A and Triple-A in 2012. He also hit 37 home runs and drove in 108 RBI, a feat that shouldn't be taken lightly for a 22-year-old.

Only two players have ever matched that sort of power output in the minors before turning 22 in the last 50 years. One is Arlo Engel in 1963, and the other is Paul Konerko.

For the Royals, this move clearly signals an extreme level of trust in the current unit. Despite finishing 18 games under .500, management feels the team is a quality pitcher away from making a playoff push.

Shields is a workhorse pitcher who is just under ace quality. He's only 30 years old, is a year removed from finishing third in the Cy Young voting and can eat up innings at the top of your rotation with a true gamer mentality.

However, he's only under control until the 2014 season. That pushes eyes to the accompanying piece in the deal. It isn't Desmond Jennings, Sam Fuld or an outfielder that could take Myers' place in the starting lineup.

It's Davis, another pitcher who can contribute, but hasn't blown anyone away as a starter. That's a big gamble for Kansas City. After years of finishing near the bottom of its division and missing the playoffs, I guess it's time for management to take a chance.

If Myers turns out to be the kind of player many think, it could end up crippling a team that's spent several years stockpiling young talent and develop its own.


Ethan Grant is a featured columnist for B/R's Breaking News Team.