It is conceivable that Wil Myers will be watching the Rays from afar for a substantial portion of the 2013 season.
At the same time, not enough has been said about the waiting game Rays fans will be playing as the 2013 season begins.
Get out your pads and pens people. Write this down.
Wil Myers will be a Durham Bull come Opening Day 2013.
This prediction and/or fact has nothing to do with talent, potential, or even giving up James Shields. Well, it will have a lot to do with talent, potential, and giving up James Shields (and Wade Davis) to acquire him, but not in the way you may be thinking.
As I have scoured the work on the internet (especially here on Bleacher Report) I have noticed far too few people mentioning the most important part of this deal for the Rays.
Control, player control to be exact.
For those of you who are not aware, Andrew Friedman and company live off of player control the way zombies live off of brains. Yes, a pretty odd metaphor given that zombies are "undead", but you get the point.
For those of you who are unaware this is Major League Baseball's rules on salary arbitration, according to MLB.com:
How many games will Wil play for Tampa Bay in 2013?
A player with three or more years of service, but less than six years, may file for salary arbitration. In addition, a player can be classified as a "Super Two" and be eligible for arbitration with less than three years of service. A player with at least two but less than three years of Major League service shall be eligible for salary arbitration if he has accumulated at least 86 days of service during the immediately preceding season and he ranks in the top 22 percent (increased from 17 percent in previous agreements) in total service in the class of Players who have at least two but less than three years of Major League service, however accumulated, but with at least 86 days of service accumulated during the immediately preceding season.
Given theses rules, one could reasonably expect not to see Myers in a big league game until late-May or beyond. This would add an extra year of inexpensive control to Myers.
If he were to start from day one Myers would surely end up in the top 22 percent of time served, thus making him arbitration eligible in 2015 rather then 2016.
A risky proposition since, arbitration hearings are based largely on statistical output, and Myers is thought be an eventual statistical monster.
The league's seen this happen before. Just last year Anthony Rizzo and Brett Jackson of the Chicago Cubs were held back in the minors far longer than their talent and positional need would have warranted.
With a team and a manager who has managed with players like Sam Fuld, Drew Sutton, and Rich Thompson playing significant innings, adding another year of cheap service to a potential franchise player is well worth it.
The only way one could imagine Myers gracing the carpet of Tropicana Field any earlier would be a contract similar to the one Evan Longoria signed before he ever played a big league game. A contract which helped make the recent contract extension he signed with the club possible.
So be patient Rays fans. Myers is worth the wait.