Late last night, the Tampa Bay Rays traded James Shields and Wade Davis to the Royals for Wil Myers and three other prospects. In addition to Myers, who was the Minor League Player of the Year, the Rays also received two other players ranked among ESPN.com’s top 100 prospects, including lefty Mike Montgomery (#52) and right-handed pitcher Jake Odorizzi (#71). And before we get to what others are saying, here are a few thoughts…

Overall, the package is stronger than the bounty the Rays received in the Matt Garza deal. But it also took both James Shields and Wade Davis to make it happen. And while Shields was expensive and will be a free agent after two more years, Davis can be an average-to-above average starting pitcher and has five more years on his deal. So the Royals got seven years worth of big league starting pitchers. And that’s a lot. Of course, Davis was just a middle reliever with the Rays. And those are replaceable.

On the other hand, the Rays got the big bat they desperately needed with little or no risk involved. While he is a prospect, and there are no guarantees, top prospects that are position players rarely fail completely. Usually, the worst-case scenario for a top prospect position player is that they never develop into an all-star. But at the very least, they almost always develop into an everyday player.

Myers is probably ready for the big leagues right now, but don’t be surprised if he spends the first few weeks in the minors. There is still the issue of service time that the Rays can’t ignore with a talent like Myers. And saving a few weeks up front means big money saved down the road.

As for the Rays as a team, many are already wondering what the Rays will do with the $13 million they just saved on the 2013 payroll. And unfortunately, the answer is probably, “not much.” They will add a relief pitcher or two. And they need to add a DH or two. But I can’t see the Rays spending a lot of money on any of the players. Maybe they will spend $4-5 million on a primary DH. But the others will be cheap.

Other odds and ends

  • If there are any Rays fans that think the Rays gave up too much, this post pretty much sums up the reaction of Royals fans. They are not happy. [Rany on the Royals]
  • Keith Law calls the trade a “coup” for the Rays. He refers to Wil Myers as a “centerpiece bat” that is a “top five prospect” and Jake Odorizzi as a “potential mid-rotation starter.” He notes that Mike Montgomery has the stuff to be a no. 2 starter, but that he has no control. And Patrick Leonard has good power potential, and projects more as a first baseman. Of course, Law is always pro-prospects. But it is a good sign that he likes the package the Rays received. [ESPN Insider]
  • The Rays now have 9 of ESPN.com’s top 100 prospects for 2012. [Twitter]
  • David Brown of Yahoo! Sports offers 8 reasons the trade “is a bad one for the Royals.” [Big League Stew]
  • Marc Topkin agrees that it is possible none of the players are on the opening day roster. However, Andrew Friedman says Wil Myers, Mike Montgomery, and Jake Odorizzi could all see action with the Rays in 2013. [TampaBay.com]
 
 

21 Comments

  1. Gus says:

    On the human side, the trade is a tough one. I remember watching Shields at the Trop shutting out Boston in April 2008 on a Sunday that was, in retrospect, the official announcement of the Rays turning the corner into a contender.

    Davis was a local kid who is going to be a very, very good starter for them. People forget how good he can be. He has a great frame to be James Shields, Part II. So good luck to those guys.

    That said, this is the type of trade that had to be done. They’ve been unable to draft and develop a bat in the Friedman era, so credit should be given for going out and trying to fix that.

    On the money — this is a significant savings; Davis had real money coming to him in the out years and Shields is not cheap anymore. They’ve splurged (for them) at SS (unwisely?), so I’d rather see this money plowed back into the core of the team if possible by extending current guys.

    Finally, Myers is going to have some significant pressure on him. It will be interesting what approach they take. But if he has a good spring and is ready, they owe it to the fans to have him on the roster. 2013 is a year the Rays can win it all. I don’t want to waste games in April if Myers can help right away.

    • Ken says:

      I can’t agree with you more on this trade Gus. Anytime you trade established pitchers for prospects there is risk involved. This trade seems well worth it. Looking at the minor league numbers of the players we received is revealing. Top 5 prospects rarely flop once they gain AAA exposure so I’m comfortable with Myers being the real deal. The two pitchers were both #1 draft picks and are very young. If the Rays can work their magic with Montgomery the trade is even more promising.
      In Shields the Royals are getting a true Pro. Let’s face it, he’s better than Greinke at less than half the salary. More than that he’s a leader, a clubhouse plus and a gritty performer. A buddy of mine (Yanks fan) and I watched his performance against the O’s late last year (0-1, 15 K’s, a fateful C. Davis HR) and all he could say was ” that sumbitch can pitch.”
      I’ll miss him, he was our BIG GAME stud, time for Price to step into that role.
      Go Rays and welcome young Royals prospects.

      • Sarah says:

        I agree about the risk, which is why I’m surprised that the commentary on this trade has seen it as slanted so heavily in the Rays’ favor. Prospects are all unproven, even the highly touted prospects, but in contrast we know with some certainty that James Shields will pitch 200+ innings, and most of them quality innings, for the Royals for the next two seasons. I don’t think the guy has ever missed a start for injury. And Davis is a huge bonus.

        The Rays “take” in this trade has a higher potential upside, but also a potential downside of yielding 0 major league starters. It’s stupid to say that if Wil Meyers becomes a superstar then the KC GM will look like an idiot – the point is, he traded him for an established major league pitcher at a point when no one KNEW whether he’d be a superstar. That’s what makes this a fair trade.

  2. Alex says:

    The Rays had to make a trade. Unfortunately I am going to miss Shields a lot. He was my favorite player not named Longo in the league. Myers will start the season in AAA no doubt regardless of his spring. They’ll want him to get hot down there and of course they want to save money down the road.

  3. J 2.0 says:

    Just remember the 2009 and 2010 Shields and it is easier to get over losing the $10.5 mil on the payroll as well.

  4. NashVegasRyan says:

    Cork,
    I am probably just dreaming here but could the Rays trade for Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlins. Seems like the Rays have prospects to trade for a young power hitting stud right fielder and they would still have 4 years of control before he is a free agent. I don’t think Stanton wants to be there, after that firesale. Zobrist could stay at second full time unless they need to play him at other positions to give people rest. Would be a nice middle of the lineup too, Zobrist, Longo, Stanton.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      He would be a solid pickup, but I think the Rays are probably content with the OF as is. They’ve still got Joyce who has shown glimpses of what could be a 30 HR bat. And they also think Fuld’s glove is the equivalent of a decent bat. Add in Jennings, Zobrist and Myers and that’s a lot of OFers to work with.

      • Craig says:

        I agree. Myers starts the season in Durham. The “couple weeks” in the minors referenced in the article will turn out to be months. Opening outfield will most likely be Joyce, Jennings, Zobrist, and Fuld. If everything goes well, Myers will be along come late summer. Until then, you might plan a road trip up to NC.

  5. Beazy says:

    Well, we know who the starting left fielder will be opening day @ the new Trop…

    • Dave L says:

      If we are facing a right handed pitcher, I would guess that would be Matt Joyce.

      • Beazy says:

        HAHA, smart alic; the point to my comment was the NEW! Trop (meaning 5-6 years from now),though we all would like to see Joyce at 34-35 years old still making great catches and belting 30 hr a season for us…

  6. Joe says:

    I love Shields but I like the trade. The part that makes me sad is that unless Friedman locks Myers right up, the dude is going to Durham.

  7. Joe says:

    There chances of breaking camp in the majors are:

    Myers: He gets signed Moore/Evan style
    Ordazzi: Niemann gets hurt again and he has a better spring than Archer
    Montgomery: Amusingly, has the best shot of entering the bullpen right away

  8. Jeffbaseball says:

    I’ve done alot of thinking about this and I think it was the right time to trade both Shields and Davis. The Rays have always done well with young talent to go with Joe Maddon’s managing. As a season ticket holder I look forward to 2013 and wish Shields and Davis well.

  9. Brianknowsbest says:

    CORK,

    what the chances the rays try to sign myers to a longoria (2008) type team friendly deal? do you think they offer it off the bat(pun intended), or do they wait a year.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      I think they definitely approach him right away and see if its possible. He’s definitely that kind of talent. Of course that doesn’t mean he’ll do it, but worth exploring.

  10. don says:

    Upside: gotta go for the “help in the future” hype
    Downside: how does this trade help our immediate problem of “no hitting”
    Guess we wait till June/july to see if a rookie hitter can help us come from 5-10 games back
    Don’t expect the Rays to spend their payroll savings from this deal, doubt they will even go for another $5mil player….how do you get a catcher/dh for less…oh I forgot a .220 hitter coming off a bad season…but plenty of upside

  11. Joe says:

    I can see the Rays locking up Myers before a single AB because they have pretty much done it before. They were deep into talks with Evan while he was in Durham, he just happened to play 6 games before it was official.

    • Gus says:

      They’d be nuts to extend him until Maddon and the Rays talent evaluators live and see him under their roof this spring. Longoria’s spring in 2008 was what convinced everybody he was legit; I want to see Myers in our clubhouse and make sure he’s not Ben Grieve 2.0. He’s a pretty confident kid/family — holding out for huge money when getting drafted; I doubt they’ll go for a Longo contract, but you never know.

      Just looking at him physically on Youtube clips last night I’d think he’s not quite ready — this is not a Harper or Trout frame. But man he has a nice swing on the little bit I saw. Young Chipper Jones?

      I’d guess Matt Joyce is hitting his workouts just a little bit harder today . . .

      • Joe says:

        Joyce should feel fine for now, he has to know from personal experience that he prob wont lose RF to Myers and even then, he has DH or LF if Zo plays 2B

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