December 6, 2012
Thursday, December 6
The Winter Meetings are winding down, but along with a slew of signings, Wednesday also brought a healthy dose of intrigue. Here’s a look at the latest developments from Nashville, as those in attendance begin packing their bags and preparing to fly home:
Royals met Wednesday night, focusing on James Shields
Shields, who turns 31 two weeks from today, is a logical target for the Royals because of his durability and team-friendly contract. He has amassed at least 200 innings in each of the last six seasons—including more than 475 combined frames in 2011 and 2012—and is set to earn just $9 million next year, followed by a $12 million club option for 2014. Compared with a spending environment that just awarded $16 million over two years to Joe Blanton, that $21 million payout is chump change.
For the privilege of acquiring an underpaid workhorse, the Rays expect the Royals to open up their farm and let general manager Andrew Friedman pick his favorite crops. The number-one crop, as Jason Parks and the prospect team attested on Monday, is right fielder Wil Myers, who was once considered untouchable, but is now believed to be on the table. Bob Dutton, the Royals beat writer for The Kansas City Star, tweeted in advance of the meeting that Moore “won’t hesitate” to ship Myers to Tampa Bay for Shields. Alas, Friedman wants at least one additional piece.
Moore and company huddled in their suite last night to decide between three possible courses of action: to give in to the Rays’ demands for Shields, to explore other trade options for a starting pitcher, or to find a way to court their top free-agent target, reported by Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi to be former Tigers righty Anibal Sanchez. Besides Sanchez, the Royals have also been tied to third-tier starters such as Ryan Dempster, but they already nabbed one of those by retaining Jeremy Guthrie and have plenty of high-risk quantity to go with precious little consistent quality.
Of course, the Royals are not the only team that views Sanchez as the top consolation prize for those who cannot rival the Dodgers’ and Rangers’ coffers for Zack Greinke. Morosi tweeted on Tuesday that Sanchez is weighing “multiple five-year offers,” and if Moore is going to win the bidding, he will need to shed payroll in short order.