The Kansas City Royals have languished at, or near, the bottom of the AL Central for a couple of decades. Their fans have suffered for a long time and nothing the Royals seemed to have tried has helped improve the teams on field performance. So it was not all that surprising when it became rumored that the Royals were going to be involved in some sort of massive trade. As these rumors gained momentum the sheer size of the trade was surprising. Well those rumors were true as the Royals and Rays produced a trade for the ages, and boy do the Royals look dumb.
Kansas City landed two proven starters and the Rays restocked their farm system by landing the Royals #1 prospect…plus other prospects. That “plus other prospects” makes this trade look like the Rays pressed the Royals pitching issues and their desperation to win now, to their advantage. The Royals landed James Shields and Wade Davis, while the Rays landed the Royals #1 prospect (probably the best prospect in baseball) Wil Myers and some other guys; so let’s take a look at what each side got, for sure.
- James Shields: Over the last seven season Shields has been one of the more consistent starters in the Rays rotation; he has a career K/9 ratio of 7.73, K/BB of 3.66, and a decent WHIP of 1.22 to prove it. That being said his last season with the Rays was definitely not his best and with his biggest pay days being in 2013 and 2014 (a total of $22.25 million), it makes sense for the Rays to trade him away for some future prospects.
- Wade Davis: In Davis’s four years in the Majors he has accumulated a career average K/9 of 7.04, K/BB of 2.04, and a Whip of 1.32. He is a young pitcher who should immediately benefit the Royal’s pitching staff; and benefit it for a while own the road as well. Unlike Shields, Davis isn’t owed a lot of money until 2017, and is still relatively fresh arm. His inclusion in this trade makes it look like the Rays really wanted Myers.
- Wil Myers: Easily the best prospect in the Royals system, some say the best prospect in baseball; Wil Myers capped a really successful 2012 season with the Royals AAA squad. He hit 24 home runs, hit for a .349 BABIP, a .554 SLG percentage, and a OBP of .378, holy shit Wil Myers. Another thing to look at is the fact that Myers has spent one season at each level of the minor leagues.
- Other Guys
Shields ($10.5M) + Davis ($2.8M) + Hochevar ($4.4M) = $17.7 million, which is more than Anibal Sanchez will make. Savvy!— Rany Jazayerli (@jazayerli) December 10, 2012
My favorite part of Shields/Davis for Myers/other prospects is the other prospects— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) December 10, 2012
Last year, Gio Gonzalez, Mat Latos, and Michael Pineda were traded for far less than James Shields just went for. Each had 4+ yrs left.— David Cameron (@OneDaveCameron) December 10, 2012
This trade stinks; it definitely looks like the Royals are in win now mode and they don’t really care about anything else. The last time I can remember a team making a trade like this was the M’s swapping Adam Jones and George Sherrill for Erick Beddard, and that trade ended up marking the beginning of the end for Bill Bavasi era in Seattle. For this trade they Royals have shopped off the best guy they have in their system and some of his compatriots for two starting pitchers; one is entering his fourth full season and the other is entering his eighth full season. They are more than likely going to get better value for a longer period of time from Shields and Davis than the M’s got from Beddard; but they still sold a good chunk of the value from their farm system to get these two pitchers. This could have long reaching effects on the Royal’s ability to develop talent, granted they haven’t done much of that over the last couple of decades. For the Royals this deal looks like a desperation move and it’s a stinky one.
To me the Rays are the big winners of this trade because they offload a bloated contract and a really long, long-term deal. In return they get one of the best products in baseball and some other, yet to be named players, as well. It’s a huge boost for the future value of their franchise and they did it on the relatively cheap, and that’s huge because it looks like the Rays are going to be stuck in Tropicana field for the distant future.