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December 10, 2012

Transaction Analysis

The Shields/Myers Blockbuster

by R.J. Anderson and Jason Parks

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IN THIS ISSUE

American League

KANSAS CITY ROYALS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Reportedly acquired RHPs James Shields and Wade Davis from the Rays for OF-R Wil Myers, 3B-R Patrick Leonard, RHP Jake Odorizzi, and LHP Mike Montgomery. [12/9]

After a home run-heavy 2010 season, Shields changed his approach. He began pitching backward, a strategy that played to his strengths (his ability to throw strikes with his impressive secondary offerings) and downplayed his weaknesses (his fastball). The shift led to a breakout 2011 season and a solid 2012, though he did struggle at times throughout the first half. His best asset is his durability. He’s never been to the disabled list during his big league career and is as close as it gets to a safe bet to top 200 innings annually. In addition to the on-the-field value as a no. 2 starter, Shields receives high marks for his qualitative value as a tireless worker and good teammate.  He’s under contract through the 2014 season.

Davis moved to the bullpen last year after two full campaigns in the Rays rotation. His results improved, but it’s unclear how much of the improvement stemmed from improved velocity versus a changed mindset. Davis attacked batters with a three-pitch mix—a fastball that touched into the upper-90s, a curveball, and a cutter—and that resulted in better interplay. The Royals’ plans for Davis are unknown. An options-laden deal has him under contract, potentially, through the 2017 season.

One of the unfortunate parts of any trade, particularly this one, is the need for instant gratification. Shields and Davis are solid pitchers capable of helping the Royals win. Whether the Royals should have made this trade is debatable, but do not confuse that argument by making Shields and Davis into punch lines. They’re better than that. —R.J. Anderson

TAMPA BAY RAYS
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Reportedly acquired OF-R Wil Myers, 3B-R Patrick Leonard, RHP Jake Odorizzi, and LHP Mike Montgomery from the Royals for RHPs James Shields and Wade Davis. [12/9]

From a prospect perspective, this deal is expensive, but let’s not buy stock in the narrative that suggests the Royals traded away their entire farm system for the goat in the box. The Royals received a major-league haul which might turn to sand in two years, but the return was of major-league quality; Shields was one of the hotter names on the market this off-season. That’s not to suggest that Shields was the best fit for the Royals needs in the present, just that he was a hot commodity that a queue of teams were salivating to acquire and the Royals were the ones to pull it off. Call it a foolish and short-sighted trade executed to save the jobs of the front office and placate an angry fan base that would rather win 77 games than 72, but the Royals did in fact acquire the level of pitcher they sought out to acquire. But at what price?

The main target in the trade was Wil Myers, the top prospect in the Royals’ system and a top 10 overall prospect in baseball.  I’ve been watching Myers since he signed, starting in the fall instructional leagues and at every stop along the way. The skill-set is very impressive with plus grades on both the hit tool and the power; the arm is another plus tool, which gives him a weapon in the outfield. Myers isn’t a sacred cow of the prospect world, though, despite being named Player of the Year by multiple publications. First of all, he’s a corner outfielder, which can be found in more abundance than no. 1 starters or premium up-the-middle talents. He’s highly respected and every organization would gladly put a uniform on his back, but a Jurickson Profar or Dylan Bundy he is not.

Secondly, and most importantly from a scouting standpoint, Myers doesn’t project to be a superstar, at least as far as I’m concerned. Again, highly skilled and one hell of a prospect, but the offensive tools aren’t so crazy that Myers was considered untouchable or a slam-dunk MVP candidate at the highest level. A realistic projection might peg him as a first-division talent or perhaps as an All-Star in his peak years. The tools aren’t so loud or the holes not so small, however, that Myers will develop into the next Mike Trout or hit the ball so hard and so often that he can cure incurable diseases with his offensive stroke. He’s ripe with new-car smell and his sticker price is through the roof, but the reality is that Wil Myers is more likely to be a major league regular than he is a superstar.

The secondary prospect in the deal is Jake Odorizzi, a steady and surefire major league arm with a back-end starter floor and a slightly-better-than-back-end starter ceiling. The arsenal is solid-average across the board with some command hiccups that can retard said arsenal and cause it to play down. He’s athletic and competitive and will probably pitch in the majors for a very long time, but this isn’t a top-of-the-rotation arm, and he isn’t going to miraculously turn into one just because he now belongs to the Rays. He’s not in the same class as Myers, but a case can be made that he is in the back-end of the top 100 prospects in the game.

Patrick Leonard is a nice low-level bat to dream on, but he’s not a likely impact player at the highest level. He has good raw pop, but the hit tool doesn’t project to be above-average, so the profile doesn’t pack a big punch. Without an enormous ceiling, he’s more like a pleasant catnap than a fantasy dream, but he could develop into a usable player, which is the ultimate goal of the process.

Mike Montgomery was once the top prospect in the Royals’ system, but he fell apart in 2012 and ended up back at the Double-A level, where he looked very bad. His future is far from written, and a change of scenery and approach could benefit the southpaw; the hole he was digging for himself was being shoveled by his own mind and his own approach. It’s unlikely that he regains his once highly projectable form, but I wouldn’t rule out a major league role in some capacity at some point in his future. The raw arm is too good not to extract some major league value.

I’m not saying I would make this trade or that it wasn’t executed to save jobs or that a few extra wins won’t matter when you need 15 extra wins to compete, but I am saying that the Royals’ system can handle the hit. The system is very deep and features several impact-level prospects that are organizational currency, just like Myers and Odorizzi. Perhaps they will mature and cash out at the major league level or perhaps they will be used in a trade to acquire players of equal or greater value in order to help the major league team. This is why depth is so vital to the overall process, because even if this trade explodes in the Royals’ faces, they still have a healthy crop of talent growing towards the major league sun. —Jason Parks

(For more in-depth information on Myers, Odorrizi, and Montgomery, check out the recently released Royals Top 10 Prospect List.)

R.J. Anderson is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see R.J.'s other articles. You can contact R.J. by clicking here
Jason Parks is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Jason's other articles. You can contact Jason by clicking here

Related Content:  Prospects,  Trade,  Royals,  Rays,  Ace

71 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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Hawktrap

Hopefully this talks some of the royals fans off the ledge...

Dec 09, 2012 23:36 PM
rating: 1
 
Arm Side Run

Why?

Even if Myers isn't a star, you're trading six relatively cheap years of an above-average regular and occasional allstar who's big league ready. The return still seems mighty light, especially when you factor in the rest of what the Royals gave up and what they got back

Dec 10, 2012 01:21 AM
rating: 1
 
comeonletsgo

Rage, don't you think it's fair to say that Myers could prove to be much worse than that? After all, he's going to have to actually play as an above-average regular and occasional all-star in the Majors first before he reaches, what is according to Parks, his ceiling. Right now though he's still just a prospect that could flame out entirely, even.

I can't help but think of the Jesus Montero trade last winter when such displeasure was voiced amongst fans and similar expectations were placed on a seemingly big league ready prospect because of a potentially potent bat. Obviously any judgments on Montero, whom hit in a hellhole and was 22, would be wildly premature and I'm not saying that Myers can't do better of course, but from an offensive tools standpoint Montero was rated by most if not all publications/prospect evaluators just as highly as Myers currently is. It's a formidable challenge to produce as an above-average regular, especially from the jump, no matter how high your hit/power tools are rated/projected and a .260/.298/.386 line or anything close to it from a corner outfielder wouldn't cut it.

Dec 10, 2012 03:12 AM
rating: 7
 
jedjethro

Montero's rookie production -- disappointing as it might have been -- still is enough to have this trade a huge win for the Mariners. Pineda's injuries look like they can be career-derailing and as for Campos, the only thing more iffy than a pitching prospect in the low minors is an injured pitching prospect in the low minors.

I'll take Montero.

Dec 10, 2012 06:31 AM
rating: 1
 
gpurcell

Why?

Because this package should have brought more--MUCH more--than it did.

Dec 10, 2012 08:28 AM
rating: 0
 
timber

Jason, you are incorrect in stating that part of Moore's motivation was to placate an angry fanbase. Believe me, the fanbase is MUCH angrier now than it was yesterday.

Dec 10, 2012 11:29 AM
rating: 1
 
Richard Bergstrom

Just my luck for a trade to involve a chunk of people on my Scoresheet team while I'm travelling i.e. Myers, Montgomery and Niemann who might now make the Rays rotation. On the flipside, I'm glad Montgomery went to an organization with a history of developing pitchers and have high hopes they can straighten him out.

Dec 09, 2012 23:39 PM
rating: 0
 
John Carter

As Shields' owner, I'm relieved he wasn't traded to the N.L. Yeah, this was a great trade for you. Every player, except Shields, is going to where he will likely be more productive.

Dec 10, 2012 06:51 AM
rating: 1
 
cbal316

I wonder if they couldve tried for Hellickson instead of Davis..

Dec 10, 2012 00:01 AM
rating: 0
 
saigonsam

I think when considering trades like this, you also need to consider that if the Royals are out of it by the trading deadline, Shields is going to be worth a prospect or two for a team that is in the race.

Dec 10, 2012 02:05 AM
rating: 7
 
jedjethro

I doubt when they "flip" Shields, they'll be able to pull a prospect as good as the one they just traded away.

I normally might try to say that the Royals deserve the benefit of doubt -- maybe they know something we don't -- but there's absolutely nothing in Dayton Moore's trade history that indicates he knows anything at all that somebody else doesn't.

Dec 10, 2012 06:28 AM
rating: 1
 
saigonsam

I agree that the prospects won't be as good, but the expected value is that they have an increased opportunity to go to the playoffs in 2013 plus the prospect for Shields if they are not in the race. Most the comments I see only consider the chances of making the playoffs when evaluating this trade.

Dec 10, 2012 17:45 PM
rating: 1
 
Jack Thomas

It will be interesting to see how Royals fans react to this trade. It seems very short sighted unless Davis is better than I preceive him to be. However, when you are too cheap to sign a FA, I guess this is how you operate. I would think 6 years of a low-priced Myers, would offset some of the cost of a FA pitcher.

Dec 10, 2012 05:28 AM
rating: 0
 
jmount78

I can't believe that Moore couldn't get a younger, more controllable pithcer for this same package. Shields is great, but you make a trade like this to push you over the top for a WS trip.

Moore made this trade for two more years of being a baseball GM. He won't get another job after this debacle of a trade. He is the Omar Minaya of the American League.

Dec 10, 2012 05:39 AM
rating: 6
 
gpurcell

Yeah, like, say Mike Minor from the Braves.

Dec 10, 2012 08:29 AM
rating: 0
 
John Carter

I'm with Hawktrap. The Royals are a team with a very weak record for turning their top prospects into quality players. How long did it take Gordon and Butler to get really good? What starting pitchers have they developed up to their full potential since Zack Greinke? They had more than their share of early picks and good picks according to the prospect experts. Considering they got two outstanding pitchers for (my estimates) an A-, B, former A- now C+?, and a C prospect, that's a good return.

From Tampa Bay's standpoint, it will probably work out for them in the long run, but this would have been a good year for them to go for it all. I don't see New York or Boston winning 95 games this year, probably not even 90. Is Toronto now the divisional favorite?

Dec 10, 2012 06:48 AM
rating: 4
 
Richard Bergstrom
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

Maybe the only reason Greinke developed was that he was too antisocial to listen to the Royals coaches :)

Dec 10, 2012 07:09 AM
rating: -10
 
Daddyboy

Social anxiety disorder is not "anti-social". This kind of misinformation and stigma is why people who struggle with mental illness stay in the closet and don't seek out treatment.

Dec 10, 2012 08:39 AM
rating: 7
 
msloftus
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Lighten up Francis

Dec 10, 2012 09:02 AM
rating: -7
 
Richard Bergstrom

Believe it or not, people can have social anxiety disorder and be "anti-social".

http://www.eseduce.com/social-anxiety-disorder-trap-zack-greinke-societys-indifference/

Dec 10, 2012 11:17 AM
rating: -3
 
gweedoh565

You just cited an article from "eseduce.com" as a credible source.

Being anti-social basically means having an underdeveloped conscience and a general disregard for the rights and concerns of others.

Having social anxiety means feeling discomfort in social interactions due to over-sensitivity to the perception that they are judging you.

They are wholly and dramatically and extremely different things. This is an oversimplification, but: anti-social people don't care at all about what other people think, while those with social anxiety care way too much about what other people think.

Dec 10, 2012 13:39 PM
rating: 6
 
Richard Bergstrom

I was looking for an article that mentioned social anxiety order, antisocial disorder and ZacK Greinke. Once work is over, I'll hop on ProQuest and find something that's peer-reviewed, preferably from the AMA.

Dec 10, 2012 13:52 PM
rating: -2
 
Richard Bergstrom

Besides, I understand that social anxiety disorder and antisocial behavior are two different things but it is disingenuous to say that it is impossible to have both.

Just to put this joke to bed, I'll rephrase it.

"Maybe the only reason Greinke developed was that his social anxiety disorder interfered with his ability to interact with bad Royals coaches :)"

Dec 10, 2012 13:56 PM
rating: -3
 
mrenick

I don't think moving shields and Davis precludes the Rays from going for it. Losing Shields will certainly impact the team but they do have pitching,not Myers is ready he can play RF and allow Zobrist to return to second. Moore may take a step forward this year. Price, Moore, Hellickson and 4 or 5 guys who are probably better than most 4th and 5th starters should help ease the loss of Shields.I think TB is still in fine shape to make a push for the pennant.

Dec 10, 2012 07:45 AM
rating: 2
 
xanderC

Personally, I do not understand why the Royals are getting so much heat for this trade. They traded players with risk that may never pan out for proven major league talent. Sure, Myers has a ton of potential, but its still potential that has yet to actualize at the major league level. The Rays look like the ones who are taking on risk here, seeing as the prospects may never pan out. Remember the Miguel Cabrera trade? None of the extremely talented prospects the Tigers traded panned out. That is not to say Myers will be a bust, but the risk is there, while the risk for the Royals is much smaller.

Dec 10, 2012 07:02 AM
rating: 5
 
Richard Bergstrom

The Miguel Cabrera trade isn't a good comparison. That was a salary dump and many people at the time panned the trade value-wise.

Dec 10, 2012 07:10 AM
rating: 0
 
DeathSpeculum

don't generally agree with this guy, but that really isn't a fair comparison. maybin was highly regarded but more of a high ceiling / low floor type like a rich mans polanco or rymer liriano type. toolsy as fuck, but could be a superstar or a 5th outfielder. myers doesn't really fit that mold. he's a high floor guy, who at worst, should be a slightly above league avg RFer and at best could be a star, but probably not superstar (for me).

Dec 10, 2012 12:17 PM
rating: 0
 
jrmayne

In some respects, yes, the Royals cashed out their risk; Shields is probably worth c. $22 million per year; they'll pay him $21 million total, for a $23 million profit. It would be surprising if those numbers were way, way off.

The question is what Myers will do. If Myers is excellent, it's a huge loss; Myers is cost-controlled for a long-time. Even if he's just good, there's a lot of (performance-cost) profit to be made.

If the Royals don't contend in the next two years, it would be very hard to win this trade. Like a lot of people, I view this as an effort by Dayton Moore not to get fired; I'm not too convinced it will work. But I also agree that full garment-rending sobbing may not quite be called for.

Dec 10, 2012 07:27 AM
rating: 3
 
mikebuetow

Count me among those who believe no one player could take the Royals from 72 wins to 92 wins, and therefore management has to make its gains incrementally or not at all. Shields is a really good major league pitcher, and they get him at a below market price. That in itself won't get them to the WS, but it's a good start.

Dec 10, 2012 10:35 AM
rating: 1
 
rrvwmr

Adding to the description of Odorizzi... He managed to rank #20 (9th highest pitcher) on KG's midseason (August 1st, 2012) rankings and #29 on BA's midseason 50 last year. He then advanced to the majors where his 7 innings can't really be regarded as anything but a small sample size. There is a 35-40% chance he proves more valuable over the next 6 years than Myers. Additionally, there is a similar chance he'll be a better starting option than Wade Davis in the 2nd half of 2013, given a full season of MLB exposure.

Dec 10, 2012 07:09 AM
rating: 1
 
mwright

Many of us are prospect junkies and love to give full credit to prospects reaching their potential, but before putting the skewer to KC for dealing young players, check out the years Moose and Hosmer had last year. Their young "can't miss" hitters may yet still pan out, of course, but right now they aren't the all-stars folks projected them to be a couple years ago when they were untouchable in a trade. Look at the growing pains Gordon has had before holding ground as a very good player.

Now check out the return TB got for Garza two years ago. Obviously Archer, Guyer, or Hak-Ju Lee could be closer to making a splash this season but as of now there has been virtually no favorable MLB impact of that trade yet for the Rays.

The Rays analytical skill set has thus far been built on 1) strong amatuer drafting enhanced by having high first-round picks for several years, 2) savvy, trades for non-stud prospect types (Zobrist, Joyce), and 3) playing the fungible market for relievers and serviceable first basemen. While the sample size is small, TB has yet to prove the ability to successfully convert medium-term valuable expiring assets like Garza and Shields (and eventually Price) into major pieces of a contending club.
They may very well turn out to do just that, but it's not a slam dunk and only time will tell.

Dec 10, 2012 07:13 AM
rating: 8
 
Richard Bergstrom

Are the failing of the young "can't miss" hitters (and pithcers) the fault of the hitters in particular, or something specific in the Royals system? Granted, not every prospect pans out, but the Royals aren't exactly growing pitchers on trees like the Braves or A's or hitters like some other teams. Maybe KC's just being smart for trading rookies they figured they couldn't fully develop?

Regarding the TB trade, people said the Cubs made a mistake.

Dec 10, 2012 07:18 AM
rating: 0
 
alangreene

It's not so much the evaluations of the relative players, it is the timing.

You make the point that many of their previous prospects aren't panning out -- but that actually would make the trade worse as it means there's no chance the Royals compete next year.

The best case scenario for this trade for the Royals is that Hosmer and Moose hit like crazy -- and so the extra wins Shields and Davis bring on the pitching side have any real relevance.

This trade shows one of three things:

1) Possibly unjustified confidence in their young talent to mature in the next 1-2 years

2) A belief that if they don't win next year they are all fired

3) An intense desire to break over .500 for no apparent reason

Dec 10, 2012 08:02 AM
rating: 1
 
Kevin Ebert

This may be the only place on the internet at the moment that people are praising KC for the trade.

Does anyone actually think that the Royals were just Shields and Davis away from being a contender in either 2013 or 2014? That's what this comes down to. If the Royals can compete when they have Shields, then fine - give up the prospects you need to, to compete. But if you think they're further away (like I do) then it doesn't make sense to put your chips in now, so to speak.

Dec 10, 2012 07:35 AM
rating: 2
 
mwright

My post wasn't necessarily to praise KC as winning this deal but rather to consider the possibility that it wasn't quite as stupid as people have assumed.

In addition, the idea that KC can't possibly compete this year is ridiculous. Even though "fluke" is written all over it, who amongst all of us geniuses pegged Baltimore for a wild card spot last year? With five playoff teams and the addition of a bunch of games against Houston this year, why not give it a shot? The Whitesox, Indians, and Twins aren't exactly entrenched contenders either. It's the weakest division in the AL. Should they wait for the experts to give them the "contender" stamp of approval before going for it?

Hell, if Hosmer OR Moose rebound, Escobar retains his offensive improvment, and you have Salvador Perez for a full season it is not a bad lineup at all when you already have Gordon and Butler.

Personally, I think the Rays player evaluation and roster management skills are outstanding and they have a much better track record than their KC counterparts. There is a good chance of TB coming out ahead after five years. I just think there is an overreaction to the negative side when looking at this deal from KCs perspective.

Dec 10, 2012 09:13 AM
rating: 8
 
John Carter

Agreed. It's not like Detroit is dominant with a 37 year old rightfielder, a question mark 5th starter, no 6th starter on the horizon, an old and slowing slow middle infield which doesn't compliment their slowest of the slow corner infielders - and their focus now is on a "closer". Plus, with two wild card entries, we are going to have lots of Oaklands and Baltimores slipping into he post season.

Dec 10, 2012 10:56 AM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

I had the Orioles winning on my backup set of tea leaves.

Dec 10, 2012 11:14 AM
rating: 0
 
T. Kiefer

I too think you are on to something here. 2013 might be the season where NO wild card comes from the AL East. The AL Central is very competitive (and the Tigers, although the favorites, perennially have problems with the Royals, and Shields pitches well against Detroit if I remember right); all KC has to worry about is possibly both wild card teams coming from the AL West (is that possible, by the way?).

Dec 10, 2012 11:35 AM
rating: 1
 
timber

Baseball America thinks the Royals did well. Jeff Passan - a KC-based writer for Yahoo Sports - is OK with it. There are opinions on both sides.

Dec 10, 2012 11:41 AM
rating: 1
 
Richard Bergstrom

Opinions are all over the map. Crasnick and Schofield are saying the Royals won just because no prospects are ever guaranteed. There's even a little bit of a "baseball outsider vs baseball insider" argument going on.

"ESPN's Keith Law called the deal a "heist" for Tampa Bay , and some chat board posters engaged in the inevitable potshots by force of habit. Friedman is revered among the armchair know-it-all crowd, and Kansas City GM Dayton Moore is a convenient punching bag, and this latest deal helped perpetuate that narrative.

If the five email responses I received from baseball executives late Sunday night are any indication, the reaction within the baseball industry is more nuanced.
"

http://espn.go.com/mlb/hotstove12/story/_/id/8731880/baseball-executives-chime-their-thoughts-multiplayer-trade-involving-tampa-bay-rays-kansas-city-royals

Dec 10, 2012 13:43 PM
rating: -1
 
chiroclimber

They also added Santana and Guthrie. Salvador Perez and Lorenzo Cain will hopefully be healthy all year. If Hosmer and Moose continue to reach their potential then they very well could give Detroit a run for their money. Especially if Detroit slips a little.

Dec 10, 2012 17:25 PM
rating: 1
 
rocket8184
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

Even if Meyers isn't a star this was a hijacking, period

Dec 10, 2012 07:40 AM
rating: -6
 
JoshC77

Shields is an OK starting pitcher and will give you innings. But if you look at WARP, in his best season (2007) he was worth 3 Wins. Note that a WARP of 3.0 would have landed him in the top 20 last season, just under guys like Peavy, Darvish, and Greinke. If he were still that kind of pitcher, I could better understand this deal.

If he is only a 2 win pitcher (ironically putting him alongside another Royal based on 2012 numbers, Bruce Chen), then your marginal upgrade is so minimal that I question if it is worth it.

The problem, is that Shields was worth less than 1 WARP last season and now at age 30, I question if he will ever improve beyond that.

I love the concept of the deal for the Royals....but they got the wrong starting pitcher. The Reds gave up less in prospects last off-season (Alonso, Grandal, Boxberger, and Volquez) and they managed to land a younger, cost-controlled, starting pitcher in Mat Latos from the Pardes.

Dec 10, 2012 08:22 AM
rating: 0
 
gweedoh565

You're missing an apparently significant component of Shield's value by looking just at WARP, which is the "good team mate" and "coach to younger pitchers" angle, cited here by R.J. and elsewhere.

Obviously this value is totally unquantifiable, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. It certainly makes sense that a team with a lot of younger pitchers (Chen excluded) could benefit a lot from the presence of a veteran who has had success fulfilling his potential.

Dec 10, 2012 09:32 AM
rating: 1
 
Pat Folz

Well, pitchers' WARP is based on FRA which just seems really borked to me (see also: 315 IP * 2.78 ERA/3.19 FIP = -1.3 WARP... http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=JONES19500112A). Fangraphs has Shields worth 4.9 and 4.3 WAR, and B-R has him worth 4.7 and 2.2 WAR over the last couple years. Those seem more reasonable in my eyes. The Fangraphs rankings are 17 and 18 those years, and B-R 11 and 40. All told those would make him approximately the 20th best starter in baseball over the last couple years.

Not that anyone has to agree with that valuation, but food for thought.

Dec 10, 2012 13:11 PM
rating: 4
 
mikebuetow

Take a look at Shields' FIP last year, and look at the pitchers *behind* him.

Dec 10, 2012 13:48 PM
rating: 0
 
MikeMcD

What about the removal of Shields and Davis from the crucible that is the AL East? Surely their numbers improve and thus their value? Otherwise the arguements, pro and con, from the perspectives of both teams are all extremely well made. Thanks to all.

Dec 10, 2012 09:03 AM
rating: 3
 
hessshaun

I think both writers really summarized both positions of the deal with precision.

Whether the Royals should have made this trade is debatable, but do not confuse that argument by making Shields and Davis into punch lines. They’re better than that. —R.J. Anderson

A Shields and a Davis do not just grow on trees no matter what weenie numbers are thrown out there. Is it Kershaw and Broxton (circa Cy young)? No, but that doesn't mean they suck.

This is why depth is so vital to the overall process, because even if this trade explodes in the Royals’ faces, they still have a healthy crop of talent growing towards the major league sun. —Jason Parks

Again, if someone who works in this avenue says the Royals can afford the deal, who cares? They are dealing from a position of depth and other teams are not simple because they do not have the embarrassment of riches.

In the grand scheme, the Royals are taking on roughly $9 million for a front line starter and a solid RP who might be more than that. That increases to roughly $16 next year. In what universe is that a rip off? Any team with a decent operating revenue would take that in a second.

Finally, as a fan of the game, I would like to say that I'll take this deal, any day of the week, over the "salary dump".

Dec 10, 2012 09:22 AM
rating: 5
 
jrfukudome

But it is a salary dump.

It's just a really well-executed salary dump.

Dec 10, 2012 09:33 AM
rating: 1
 
hessshaun

All trades are salary dumps, correct. This one happens to be prettier than most. So many angles you could approach it from.

Dec 10, 2012 09:46 AM
rating: 0
 
Beau Giles

I remember an old "Up and In" podcast when KG and Jason were talking about the loaded Royals farm system and Kevin said "I don't know how they mess this up."

They may be messing it up.

Dec 10, 2012 09:55 AM
rating: 1
 
Scott
(296)

I have been a KC fan all my life, and I am surprised - but excited - about this trade. I do think that the Royals overpaid for Shields, but if they are serious about trying to get to the next level, they HAD to improve their rotation. After the disappointments they had with younger players this past season (like Hosmer) and with all of the injuries to young pitchers (KC was TJ Central last year), the bottom line is that an established starter of Shields' quality is arguably more important in the team's future than Will Myers.

I know, I know. WILL MYERS. But I think that the analysis of his value here is pretty accurate. He will be good - he may be VERY good for a while. But he was not the kind of guy you hang on to at all costs, because he's going to be the savior of your franchise. If I thought that he was, I'd be screaming, too - and I suspect that is the knee-jerk reaction of a lot of Royals fans, because that's how he has been sold (or perhaps oversold). Would I have liked to have kept him? Sure. But folks are treating him like he was/is a guaranteed future Hall of Fame player. Time to dial that back a bit - or a lot.

The two questions for me that will determine the ultimate outcome of this trade are these: 1) Does Shields sign an extension at a reasonable rate to keep him in KC for another 2-3 years, and 2) is GMDM finished making moves now?

The Royals cannot afford to keep trotting Luke Hochevar out there every 5th day. He can look brilliant 3-4 times a year, and like a batting practice pitcher 10-12 times a year. So does Moore keep him, hoping yet again that he will find some consistency, does he give rotate guys he currently has in the #5 spot (including Davis), or does he go out and spend some more on a guy like Dempster? The Royals can also not afford to trot Jeff Francouer out there for 140 games if what we saw last year is the REAL Francouer. So what is Moore going to do about that now?

He can probably convince ownership to spring for one more deal - maybe. So do you sign another arm, or try to find a guy who can reliably hit and play right field (or left field, and move Gordon to RF)?

Dec 10, 2012 11:00 AM
rating: 6
 
timber

You know what? The Royals ARE going to keep trotting out Luke Hochevar every fifth day.

Dec 10, 2012 11:44 AM
rating: 0
 
John Douglass

Speaking of WIL MYERS. If two years ago today the Royals had traded Eric Hosmer in a package for Anibal Sanchez, an awful lot of people would have screamed "Six years of ERIC HOSMER! For a four-win pitcher who's gone in two years!!!"

They can suck up a year of Frenchy, given the rest of the lineup. Plenty of small market teams win 90 games with one or more Frenchy-sized holes in their lineup. TB the last several years and the Padres a couple years ago both spring to mind. Small market teams can't go .500, let alone win 85+, with a MLB roster full of #5 starters.

Dec 10, 2012 13:41 PM
rating: 2
 
LoyalRoyal

As a lifelong Royals fan, I'm feeling two emotions: Shock- they actually did the trade and Fear- because we are conditioned in KC to fear any major move as one that will ultimately hurt the team. lol

Trying to stay positive, but it's hard. I agree with the post above that Myers should have brought a pitcher as good as Shields with more time left under the Royal's control or a better pitcher with only two years left. I think the Davis/Odorizzi is too even call with both under control for a significant timeframe and the jury is out Montgomery. Plus, I too wonder about the motivation to "just do something" to try and save jobs.

As with all major trades like this, only time will tell.

As a tongue-in-cheek comment, maybe this done by Moore to save Frenchy's starting spot.

Dec 10, 2012 11:51 AM
rating: 0
 
John Douglass

In a vacuum, trading six-plus years of Myers, six years of Odorizzi, and a shot in the dark on Montgomery for Shields and Davis is bad. But the Royals are not in a vacuum, they're in a very specific situation in which they have systematically failed to produce a good pitcher through their farm, save Greinke, in about two decades--since Cone/Appier. Their hitters are entering their prime, and their pitching stinks. Their window is closing--Butler is gone in 3 years, Gordon in 4, and all the rest in 5. If they didn't address their pitching, it's not hard to see a team in 2015-2016 that's dealing away Hosmer and/or Moustakas and/or Perez for prospect packages because they're not going anywhere and those players' trade values are at their highest.

This deal might not make them a playoff team. But bringing Myers up in 2013, getting a couple wins out of him per year until Butler is gone and Gordon is almost gone, then seeing him blossom in 2016 on a team that still has no pitching? That would not have gotten them anywhere either.

I think more scorn should be tossed on Moore for the Ervin Santana move--that $12 million is money he could have spent on a better SP on the market....or just set on fire for a better return. That move (and keeping Hochevar) causes a "payroll pinch" and backs them into a corner where they have to make a desperate move like this. But this desperate move might be the first reasonable one Moore has made in a few years.

Dec 10, 2012 12:05 PM
rating: 7
 
ofMontreal

What this guy said. Exactly what this guy said. What if Myers gets hurt again? What if Odorizzi's fastball doesn't get past anyone? Many unknowns for some pretty well knowns. This is very solid deal for Royals.

To add to above, Royals also have 2 solid starters coming back from injury. Santana is like Sanchez last season - a roll of the dice. Moore is determined not to run out of starters again.

Dec 10, 2012 15:25 PM
rating: 1
 
Richard Bergstrom

What if Shields gets hurt since he's on the wrong side of 30? What if Davis can't convert back to the rotation? You can play these "what if" games with both sides...

Dec 10, 2012 18:24 PM
rating: 0
 
Behemoth

You can, but the vast majority of the risk is with the Rays, and much of the analysis fails to reflect that. People say things like that Myers will be a perennial all-star, and he might, but all the risks (and they are substantial) are to the downside of that sort of projection. The same is true of the other prospects, but not of two pitchers who have been successful to varying degrees in the big leagues for a number of years.

That said, it still isn't a great deal for the Royals. Givng Ryan Dempster a 3rd year, keeping Myers and binning Francouer is a better plan, as would be trading for and extending Dickey.

Dec 11, 2012 02:44 AM
rating: 3
 
Richard Bergstrom

The majority of the risk is with the Rays, but Myers has a very high floor which helps to mitigate that risk. Also, perhaps this trade frees up some free agent dollars for the Rays to make another move via free agency.

And yes, I do agree that getting someone like Dempster and swapping Franceour for Myers would've been better.

Dec 11, 2012 07:04 AM
rating: 0
 
Lastblues

I like how much you can tell the authors were anticipating this oncoming comment section shit storm and did their best to take the offensive. #TeamLegend

Dec 10, 2012 12:45 PM
rating: 0
 
John Carter

Show me how the Royals overpaid for two years of Shields and X years of Davis. Detroit traded their 2nd best prospect Jacob Turner for a 1/2 a year of Anibal Sanchez.

Dec 10, 2012 13:23 PM
rating: 3
 
Eddie Bajek

They also plugged a hole at second base and swapped draft picks in the trade moving from late second round to late first.

Also, Turner isn't what we thought he was. Shoulder injuries have taken their toll.

Dec 11, 2012 07:09 AM
rating: 1
 
John Hilton

I think one other aspect of this trade that is being overlooked is whether this helps the Rays in the short term. The Yankees and Red Sox are clearly on the decline and breaking up a contending team right now is probably not the right thing to do. The Rays should have kept Shields and Davis simply because there is a huge window of opportunity over the next two years to contend in the AL East. Even if Myers becomes an above average player, it is going to take him a few years and by then, the two financial powerhouses will have retooled.

Dec 11, 2012 05:05 AM
rating: 3
 
Richard Bergstrom

The Yankees had the best record in the AL last season and they're on the decline just because they didn't resign Martin or Chavez?

On the flipside, Myers is supposed to be ready next year and the Rays scored the least runs in the AL East while preventing the least runs in the AL East.. i.e. they needed to improve their offense and had some run prevention to spare.

Dec 11, 2012 07:01 AM
rating: -2
 
John Hilton

The Yankees are getting older, not younger. You don't honestly expect them to continue on the way they have, do you?

Dec 11, 2012 07:32 AM
rating: 2
 
Richard Bergstrom

Name a team that doesn't get older.

As far as "continuing the way they have", they no longer trade prospects for middling veterans the way they did in the 80s. They've put a lot of emphasis on the farm system and for all the "Evil Empire" talk, a good chunk of their roster is homegrown (Jeter, Rivera, Pettite, Cano, Gardner, Hughes, etc.) No, they don't have a farm system like the Rays but their organization isn't in complete disarray like the Red Sox are either.

Dec 11, 2012 08:39 AM
rating: -2
 
John Hilton

Listen, I am not here to pick a fight, and I am not commenting on the Yankees farm system. Yes, every team gets older, but the Yankees are getting older on the downside of the career performance curve while most of the Rays are getting older on the UPSIDE of the career performance curve. For the Rays to surrender solid Major Leaguers with many of their stars coming into their prime while their major opponents (Yankees and Red Sox) are either getting really old or completely demolished makes no sense.

Dec 11, 2012 10:30 AM
rating: 1
 
Richard Bergstrom

The Rays have a good history of replacing major league pitchers with minor league ones, usually before their value starts to tank like Kazmir. Sure, Shields and Davis are solid major leaguers, but just last year, they moved Davis to the bullpen and were going to move Niemann because of Moore, Archer, etc.

Dec 11, 2012 12:49 PM
rating: 0
 
Ric Size

This is the kind of deal Andrew Friedman has to make when ownership won't ever invest in a payroll above $70 million. We're talking about an owner who is personally worth an estimated $700 million.

Dec 11, 2012 05:34 AM
rating: 0
 
Ironhorse

Many great comments, guys. If you'll allow a generality to reduce all of this, the criticism of the Royals' end of the deal is primarily based on what we could call "controlled yrs of player service." So: Odorizzi 6, Myers 6, etc and the players received far less.

Some suggest that writing the big check for a FA would have prevented this. But no one has pointed out that we have a huge problem in KC that goes back to the early '90s labor tension when Glass was (after Ewing's death) a non-owner caretaker but one of two stridently anti-labor attack dogs for the owners. That still lingers with agents and any historically aware player, or one who is made aware by his agent. Add to that the chill of a free agent looking at the Royals and doubting their commitment to winning...It may NOT be that KC WON'T sign a free agent, but CAN'T get one worthy of #1-2-3 SP status.

Second, we went through years of having 1 or 2 major league players on the field alongside many AAA and AAAA types. Now, there are major league players at every position (incl/ DH) except RF and 2B. The pen has been outstanding. The need is for multiple SPs.

If management can't show Butler, Gordon, Alcides, Cain, Moose, Hosmer and Perez that they are committed, "six yrs of control" suddenly become 3 1/2 to 4 1/2...remember Greinke? So let's not only NOT count 6 yrs of control for Myers and Odorizzi, let's say that there are another 10 to 30 years of "control" at stake for those 7 legit regulars listed above. Will they stay?

The first long-term contract signed from this point forward among those 7 players that extends one (or more) of them from bailing out changes the equation of this trade DRASTICALLY. And that's a huge factor in the long-term competitive scenario that not one analyst I've seen has mentioned. Fan comments in KC are all over the place, many of them just negative knee-jerk reactions. Even on BP here, there is well-reasoned affirmation for the Royals' end as well as doubt. But the trade will pan out or fail in the long run for its cascade effect on our ability to retain those seven players named above ...and others.

Dec 11, 2012 07:57 AM
rating: 2
 
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