James Shields Traded for Wil Myers; Who Wins and Who Loses in This Deal
The deal will see the reliable right-handed starter James Shields head to KC, along with depth rotation starter Wade Davis, while Tampa Bay nets a fine package of prospects, headlined by super-talent Wil Myers.
Also of note is Jake Odorizzi, who was one of Kansas City's top pitching prospects and was sure to compete this spring for a spot in their rotation.
For Kansas City, James Shields will be the best pitcher to come to town since the recently-signed Zack Greinke was shipped off to Milwaukee a few years back.
Tampa Bay continues to walk the financial tightrope and was able to land a group of highly-talented, controllable young players, while dealing away a starter who was sure to cost them a good deal of cash when he hit free agency and would have definitely also cost them the chance to re-sign 2012's Cy Young Award winner, David Price.
So who wins and who loses in all of this?
Did one team definitively win this deal? Or was this one of those trades that saw both teams come out on top?
Winner: Tampa Bay Rays
No doubt Tampa Bay gets a huge boost from this deal.
While losing a starter like James Shields is never ideal, the Rays still have the likes of David Price, Jeremy Hellickson and up-and-coming sensation Matt Moore in their starting rotation. Jake Odorizzi could also leap into the rotation, though that is unlikely for 2013, with Jeff Niemann and Alex Cobb both on the active roster as well.
They now also have their center fielder of the future in Wil Myers, replacing the departed B.J. Upton.
Myers was Baseball America's No. 28 prospect overall entering 2012 (h/t baseball-reference.com) and is sure to rocket up the 2013 preseason rankings after he put up a slash line of .314/.387/.600 between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha in 2012.
Oh, and he powered out 37 home runs and drove in 109 runs between Double-A and Triple-A as well.
The kid can seriously hit.
As for Odorizzi (who was ranked No. 68 among all prospects by the same Baseball America rankings), he put up a 15-5 record and 3.03 ERA, with a WHIP of 1.25 between the same two levels (with 18 of 25 starts coming at Triple-A). Odorizzi also started two games at the major league level as a September call-up, registering a 4.91 ERA in 7.1 innings pitched.
Those two alone would have been a nice package of nearly-major-league-ready prospects.
Netting the southpaw hurler Mike Montgomery (who was ranked at No. 23 in Baseball America's pre-2012 rankings) and Patrick Leonard was an added bonus.
Montgomery has huge potential, but has had a rough few years, posting an ERA over 5.30 in 2011 and over 6.00 in 2012, while Leonard is a recent draftee who still has a long way to go.
Loser: Kansas City Royals
Kansas City may have landed one of the top pitchers on the trade market of this offseason, but there is no doubt that they overpaid. Big time.
Letting go of Wil Myers itself is a huge sacrifice.
Throwing in a pitcher of Odorizzi's talent adds to an already steep price, but giving Tampa Bay two more prospects, including one who has been ranked in Baseball America's top-30 prospects for the past three seasons (albeit, one who's struggled) is just giving up way too much.
Both Myers and Odorizzi are arguably major league-ready prospects, and if Montgomery turns things around this season, he could be seen in Tampa Bay in the near future as well.
And for what?
Yes, James Shields was one of the bigger names on the market, but look at his past four seasons and you'll see he's not exactly a bona fide ace.
His ERA went from 4.14 to 5.18, followed by an impressive 2.82 and then 3.52 in 2012.
Was trading two high-caliber, major league-ready prospects, plus an additional two prospects, really worth a guy who has posted an ERA below 3.50 just once in the last four years?
Who won the Wil Myers-James Shields blockbuster
I don't think so.
Winner: Wil Myers
This trade could not have come at a more perfect time for Wil Myers.
Not only was he dealt to a team ready to contend for a playoff spot, but it happened the very same offseason that the man who would have blocked him from playing center field found a new home as a free agent.
Myers will now have the opportunity to prove his worth in spring training and potentially snag the starting center-field spot for the Tampa Bay Rays.
Young Wil Myers should be ecstatic about this move.
Winner: James Shields
James Shields also emerges as a winner in this deal.
Well, him joining the Royals may not make them a contending team, but Shields and his agent should be salivating about the prospect of moving to the AL Central division.
The 30-year-old California native is set to make $10.25 million in 2013 and if the Royals don't exercise his option for the 2014 season, he'll hit the free agent market.
Whether he's a free agent after the 2013 or 2014 season shouldn't really matter to Shields. Either way he's poised for a big payday. Especially now that he has a chance to pad his stats by playing fewer games against power-house lineups in New York, Boston and Toronto, and instead gets to feast on the not-so-intimidating Cleveland Indians, Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox on a more regular basis.
Oh, and Shields also picked up a cool $750,000 just for being traded:
James Shields receives $750,000 trade bonus as a result of trade, source says. @mlbonfox— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 10, 2012
Not too shabby.
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