Dissecting The Royals And Rays Trade: Shields And Davis For Wil Myers + Prospects

Tuesday, Dec.11/2012

James Shields has 2 years left on his contract with the Rays.  He was the first player they signed to many years of Club Options.  It is a system they have used to sign Zobrist, Longoria and Moore.  It gives the team the flexibility to option out of a contract with a player heading into any year

James Shields has 2 years left on his contract with the Royals.  He is 31-22 with 448 Strikeouts in 477 IP in the last 2 years.  While he might not be a Premiere Ace, he is a front end starter that Kansas City has not had for a long ime.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner):

We at the MLB Reports have established that we are far more in favor of acquiring hitters than pitchers in today’s MLB.  Why do you ask?  It is simple. The amount of pitchers that end up injured for the year is mind boggling.  You can check out our Tommy John Surgery Tracker Page here.  Point being, is that is risky to trade away top tier offensive prospects for pitching in return.  Having said this, I like this trade of James Shields, Wade Davis and a player to be named later, for Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery and Patrick Leonard for both clubs.  It addresses immediate concerns with a look to the future.  To fully assess how this trade will break down we start with the Royals:

The Royals:

James “Big Game” Shields  (30, 31 on Dec.20/2012)  Career Record of 87-73 (.544)  3. 89 ERA  1454 IP  1250  SO: James Shields is a big game pitcher, as his nickname indicates.  The man has been a great pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays over the last several season, including 3 Post Season Appearances, plus throwing 5.2 Shutout Innings versus the Philadelphia Phillies in Game #2 of the 2008 World Series.  Shields has logged more than 200+ IP  for the last 6 consecutive seasons, with leading the American League in 2011 for throwing 11 Complete Games and 4 Shutouts.  Shields also led the American League Shutouts during the 2008 year.  Shields finished 3rd in AL Cy Young  Voting in 2011.  A year he had a 16-12 Record with a dazzling 2.82 ERA.  He is always near the top for the Strikeout Leaders in the American League as well.  There is no doubt in my mind, that if he played for a better offense, he would have a few 20 Win Seasons to his credit.  Shields has 2 YRs/22.3 Million Dollars left on his contract.  In 2013, he will earn 10.3 Million and in 2014, the Royals have a Team Option for him a 12.0 Million Dollars, which they certainly will pick up.  Shields had thrown in the tough AL East for his whole career and should see some easier days ahead in the AL Central.

Whether or not the Royals will be able to resign the California native long-term will still be left to question.  If he was on the open market right now, Shields would be able to command in the 13-17 Million Dollar a Year range based on his numbers.  The Royals have received a front end pitcher who is just below the first tier of Aces.  Lets face it, the Royals are much like the Toronto Blue Jays and Pittsburgh Pirates (all 3 teams that are the last to make the playoffs since the 1994 Strike Year,) these are clubs that have a tough time attracting Free Agents to sign with them because of their recent team histories and lack of excitement in the city they play in.  The Management of these franchises have all acquired pitchers by trade because they have to operate business like this.  

Toronto just recently traded for Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle, while Pittsburgh traded for A.J. Burnett and Wandy Rodriguez this past year.  The fact that these guys are not signed to a crazy amount of years going forward, with huge salaries, is why these clubs have pulled the trigger.  Now the Royals have done the same thing.    Trading for Shields might have cost them Wil Myers, however they now have a #1 or #2 pitcher in the stable for at least 2 years.  They can also qualify Shields with a minimum 1 YR offer in 2015 (whatever MLB sets the mark at, this year it was 13.3 Million) in order to receive a compensatory pick should the starting pitcher leave afterwards.  The Royals also picked up SP Wade Davis.

Wade  Davis pitched out of the bullpen in 2012 and flashed better Strikeout numbers.  Will the Royals use him out of the pen or as a Starter?

Wade Davis pitched out of the bullpen in 2012 and flashed better Strikeout numbers. Will the Royals use him out of the pen or as a Starter?

Wade Davis (27)   SP/RP  28-22 (.560)  3.94  ERA:  Davis was caught in a numbers game with the amount of Starting Pitchers the Rays had with David Price, James Shields, Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore, Jeff Niemann and Alex Cobb.  Make no bones about it, this man can definitely start in the Major Leagues.  In 2010, Davis finished 4th in Rookie of the Year Voting, by going 12-10 with a 4.07 ERA in 29 Starts for the Rays.  In 2011, he went 11-10 with a 4.45 ERA.  In 2012, he was relegated to the bullpen, where he went 3-0 with a 2.43 ERA and 87 SO in his 70.1 IP.  Davis could either be a #4 or #5 in the Royals rotation or be a force in the bullpen as a reliever.  Again, he has pitched in the tough AL East, so his Career ERA of under 4.00 is quite noteworthy.  

Davis has a contract for the next 2 YRs, that pays him 2.8 Million in 2013 and 4.8 Million in 2014.  The best part about this contract is that the Royals also have 3 straight single year Team Options for him at 2015 (7.0 MIL), 2016 (8.0 MIL) and 2017 (10.0 MIL).  This means that this pitcher could be locked in at 5 YRs/32.6 Million Dollars, which would be fair compensation if he performs as a winning pitcher in the rotation or as a reliever with similar numbers to his 2012 campaign.  If he pitches miserably, or is hurt, the Royals are only on the hook for 2 years.  

Davis might fill out a rotation with Shields, newly re-signed Jeremy Guthrie (3 YRs/25 Million), newly acquired Ervin Santana, with 1 YR/13 Million Dollars left on his deal, Luke Hochevar (Super 2 ARB-Eligible, Free Agent in 2015), Luis Mendoza and Bruce Chen (1 YR left at 4.5  Million Dollars in 2013) round out the candidates for the rotation.  Santana features a Career Record of 96-80 (.545) with a 4.33 ERA.  Guthrie is 55-77 (.417)  with a 4.28 ERA for his career, however was 5-3 with a 3.16 ERA for the Royals in 2012 in 16 Starts. Chen is 36-35 (.507) with the Royals in his time there and simply can’t be counted on as a front end guy.  However he is a pretty decent pitcher at the back end of the rotation.  Hochevar is an abysmal 38-59 (.396) with a 5.39 ERA during his 6 Year Career with KC and is a big reason why the Royals had to make the big trade.  Hochevar was a 1st Rd pick of the Royals back in 2006.  Luis Mendoza was the clubs best starter with a 8-10, with a 4.23 ERA.  Mendoza is under club control for several more years.

The teams inability to draft pitchers that have become aces from them have stemmed back 20 years.  It is a far cry from the days when the team could brag about featuring Bret Saberhagen, David Cone, Mark Gubicza and Tom Gordon as pitchers in their organization.  The time to act for the club was now.  With trading for potentially 40% of the Starting Rotation alone, was reason enough to roll the dice.  If you add Guthrie, who was a product of trading Melky Cabrera, (through Jonathan Sanchez, who they traded for Guthrie,) Drayton Moore has managed to assemble a decent rotation of guys not drafted by their franchise. The Royals are only going to compete if players like Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Alex Gordon, Lorenzo Cain and Billy Butler play to their potential anyway. By sacrificing some of the teams future offense in Myers, they have been given a chance to win with some pitching talent.  

With this core of offensive talent all on Entry-Level Contracts, the teams Payroll is will within budget (70-80 Million) for the next 2-3 years. Should they compete in the Division during this time frame, I could even see the club making some Trade Deadline Deals that could see them land a big bopper back for the short-term.  The Royals have only mustered one winning year in the last 20 seasons.  The fanbase has endured many of rebuilding projects and has seen many great young players like:  Johnny Damon, Jermaine Dye and Carlos Beltran all leave to greener pastures.  With only one winning season in the last 20 years and 10 years since that 83 Win team in 2003.  Yes, a player like Wil Myers may end up being a Franchise player, however if the team can’t pitch at all, he may have been wasted away for several years like Mike Sweeney was during his tenure.  Sometimes you just have to play your cards like a “Riverboat Gambler.”  As a fan of a team, I would rather them try like KC has here than not try at all.  

You also have to consider that the park you play in lends itself to having strong defense.  Making this trade should help the club improve on their 37-44 home record at Kauffman Stadium.

Tampa Bay Rays:

Wil Myers (22)  RF  .304/.378/.932 with  24 HRs, 79 RBI in 388 AB in Omaha, NE (AAA):  Wil Myers was ranked #28 by Baseball America prior to 2012.  This years totals will only increase that.  Myers may be able to make the Majors as early as next year.  As most of the top prospects within the Rays system, the franchise will wait until May for this guy to be called up to the Majors.  Wil Myers will be part of an OF that will feature CF Desmond Jennings and potentially Matt Joyce or Ben Zobrist to round up the cast.  The Rays had CF B.J. Upton leave the team for Atlanta.  Wil Myers will be looked upon to provide some pop to the lineup immediately.

Mike Montgomery (23)  3-6 with a 5.39 ERA in Omaha (AAA) PCL:  Mike Montgomery was rated even higher than Wil Myers prior to 2012, with being ranked #23 by Baseball America. His stock has fallen a bit with a poor year in the Minors, yet he is still a Left Handed Starting Pitcher. 

Jake Odorizzi  (22) RP:  Odorizzi started two games for the Kansas City Royals in 2012.  He pitched 7.1 IP and let in 4 runs.  In Omaha last year, he was 11-3 with a 2.93 ERA in 18 Starts.

Patrick Leonard  (20)  3B/DH :  Leonard hit for an OPS of .833 in the Rookie League for Burlington in the Appalachian League.

The Rays had 7 potential Starting Pitchers to engineer the trade.  Now that they have traded Shields and David for Wil Myers, the Rays stand to save 11 Million Dollars in 2013 salaries and 14 Million Dollars in 2014.  The salary relief will go along way in trying to sign David Price long term.  Since the start of the offseason, the team added Yunel Escobar for 5.0 Million Dollars for 2013 (and club option of 5.0 MIL  for both 2014 and 2015) and signed 1B James Loney for 2.0 Million Dollars in 2o13.  The teams total payroll.  You can check out that payroll summary here.    This trade had to be done.  The team couldn’t afford to re-sign Shields past 2014.  It is better to sell high.  Wil Myers could be their franchise player for a decade if he lives up to his potential.

Much like the Royals have a hard time with signing Free Agents, the Rays are also not a destination franchise most offensive players would consider to take their talents to.  Even if they did, the Rays could not stand the financial burden to sign a Multi-Year, 9 Figure Contract.  So trading for a potential stud like Myers makes more sense.  Tampa Bay has sacrificed a lot of their pitching staff in order to accomplish this move.  It may set back the franchise a year or two for Myers to come around.  Then again, if Price, Niemann, Moore, Hellickson and Cobb can weather the loss of Shields and Davis with improvement, then all will not be lost.  The club could even make a future trade with some of the money saved, for some more offense.  

The Rays had the best pitching staff in the American League during the 2012 season.  The Royals finished 4th in the American League for Batting Average and Total Hits.  The Rays finished 13th out of 14 teams for hits and 12th out of 14 teams for Batting Average.  The Royals finished in 10th for team pitching ERA.  More importantly, the starters were horrific. Trading strength for strength is exactly what trades were designed for to begin with in the Major Leagues.

Will ascended onto the PCL scene last year and ripped out 24 HRs in just 99 Games at Omaha.  The Rays will be counting on him for their offensive future

Wil Myers ascended onto the PCL scene last year and ripped out 24 HRs in just 99 Games at Omaha. The Rays will be counting on him for their offensive future.  He also just celebrated his 22nd birthday on Monday.

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com ***


*
**Chuck Booth- Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner and author of the Fastest 30 Ballgames:   To learn more about my  “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book” and how to purchase it, click here . You can also follow my Guinness Book of World Record Successful Bid to see all 30 MLB Park in 23 Days- click here.  I am happy to be part of such an awesome Magazine-Style Baseball Website and am looking forward to talking to all of the fans of the MLB.  You can reach me on Twitter here

a  a chuck booth

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About chuckbooth3023

I played competitive baseball until 18 years old and had offers to play NCAA Division 1 University Baseball at Liberty University. Post-concussion symptoms from previous football and baseball head injuries forced me to retire by age 19. After two nearly made World Record Attempts in 2008, I set a New World Record by visiting all 30 MLB Parks (from 1st to last pitch) in only 24 Calendar Days in the summer 0f 2009. In April of 2012, I established yet another new GWR by visiting all 30 Parks in only 23 Calendar Days! You can see the full schedule at the page of the www.mlbreports.com/gwr-tracker

Posted on December 11, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Nicholas Rossoletti

    Not to disagree with Chuck completely, but there is a particularly phrase I’d like to start a commentary on. For the Royals, “the time was now”. I disagree. The Royals are 72 win ball club with tremendous holes. Their offensive future is tied to Eric Hosmer, who was a -1.1 WAR player last year. That means Hosmer was a below replacement level player. This is a core building block for this team. Another core block is Mike Moustakas who was a 3.5 WAR player last year, which is fine, but “Mous” regressed badly as the season drew on. His August and September were atrocious to be kind. Those are two players that you need to surround Alex Gordon and Billy Butler. On top of which, your pitching staff is still awful. Ervin Santana is bad. Jeremy Guthrie was good for 91 IP last season. Not great, but good. So the answer is to trade for a 31-year old starting pitcher worth somewhere around 4 wins above replacement and a 27-year old starter converted to a reliever who was only worth 1 win above replacement value as a starter. Say we increase that to 2 WAR this season, what does that give you? An extra 5 wins? 6 wins? If Hosmer breaks out and Mous is the guy from the first forty-five days for the season, thats another 3 wins or so wins?

    So the trade probably garnered them a record of somewhere around 80-81 wins. Still seven or eight shy of the Tigers if the Tigers are only in the high-80’s again. And what did it cost them? Four cost controlled young assets, inculding a consensus top five-ten prospect whose future surplus value could be in Mike Staton-esque range (we are talking $100 million of surplus value if Myers pans out). The time wasn’t now for the Royals. The time was now for Drayton Moore to try to save his job. Big Game James won’t be pitching in many this season unless there are more moves to come from Kansas City, and I have a feeling that we will be adding Myers to the names referenced above i.e. Damon, Dye and Beltran except the KC faithful will have never even gotten to see Myers play at the big league level.

    • HI Nicholas,

      I was referring to the Royals needing to be relevant. I think with the starting pitchers they have acquired, they can quite easily win 85-92 games if all of their pitchers live up to their potential and that would equate to them challenging for a Wild Card Spot a lot of people don’t care about WAR as much as sabermetrics. I am not discounting it. Just saying, you must look at the Win PCTG of each starter they have brought on. When you have Luis Mendoza as your best full year pitcher, that is brutal. Shields is a 15 game winner. Myers has never had one hack at the MLB level, so you are not exactly sure what will happen once he gets to the Major Leagues. He could be the next Bryce Harper or the next Willy Mo Pena. At least with the KC Royals, the pitchers are MLB tested. If your KC and you can add 40% of a starting rotation via a trade for quality SP when you are bad, you should. Just like the article said, the Royals have almost zero chance to sign any Free Agent Pitchers. If they kept Myers, what chance would that even give them if he hit 40 HRs and drove in 110 RBI if there is no one to hold off the runs vs their opponents? The Royals have had to replace all SP’s since 2011, with the exception of Bruce Chen and a brutal Luke Hochevar. In a division where pitching does matter with your top teams, DET: (Verlander, Scherzer and Fister,) CWS: Sale and Peavey, you absolutely need front-line pitchers. I saw the Royals play live a few times, these guys can rake the hell out of the ball. Moustakas hit a ball out of the stadium foul (behind home plate). Gordon and Butler are as solid as they come. There is enough offense on the club. To me, the deal makes sense for both clubs. Wade Davis is also a quality pitcher and is only 27. If it were any other team, I would never do the deal. Kansas City is a whole different ball of wax. If you don’t deal the deal for the two pitchers, how else would you go about fixing your pitching problem?

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