Originally written on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 12/9/12
62
The Kansas City Royals and Tampa Bay Rays completed a huge swap of talent late on Sunday night, with the Rays sending starting pitcher James Shields, reliever (or potential starter) Wade Davis, and a player to be named later to the Royals for four prospects: Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery, and Patrick Leonard. The motive for the trade seems obvious for the Royals: they need starting pitching, and they want it NOW. But in acquiring Shields and Davis, the Royals completely mortgaged their future by dealing Myers, the 2012 Minor League Player of the Year, and Odorizzi, arguably the top pitching prospect in their organization. The additions of Montgomery, once an elite prospect, and Leonard, who had an .833 OPS as a 19-year old in rookie ball, are just cherries on top for the Rays. The Royals needed pitching, and in Shields, they get a guy who will be 31 this month that is under contract for just two more seasons at $10.25 million in 2013 and $12 million in 2014 (via a club option). Shields has six straight 200 inning seasons for the Rays, and has four four-win seasons for the Rays during his career with them. He's also coming off of the two best seasons of his career (in terms of ERA, FIP, and xFIP), and has an ERA more than a full run higher on the road than at Tropicana Field. He'll head to a much better hitters park in Kansas City, and one that will expound upon Shields' biggest weakness: his tendency to allow his fair share of homers. The 27-year old Davis came up through the Rays system as a starter, but spent 2012 in the major league bullpen for the Rays. Perhaps not coincidentally, 2012 was the finest of Davis' major league career, as he struck out 87 hitters in 70 1/3 innings and pitched to a 2.43 ERA. Maybe the Royals will try to transition him back into a starter, but in the majors, Davis seems like he'd be a better fit long-term coming out of the bullpen. Now, when evaluating the package heading to Tampa Bay in the trade, you have to remember that nothing is for certain, as these are all prospects. But the haul they're receiving looks like a more than fair value. Myers, who turns 22 on Monday, was the it guy in trade rumors all offseason when it came to the Royals and their desire to improve their pitching staff. In 2012, Myers hit a total of 37 homers split between AA and AAA for the Royals, adding a .300 average and a double-digit walk rate. For the season, Myers finished with a .987 OPS, mashing both lefties and righties and looking like a franchise cornerstone. The Rays will likely slot him in their Opening Day lineup, essentially taking BJ Upton's place after Upton signed as a free agent with the Braves. Odorizzi is the next biggest name in the deal, and he was part of the trade that sent Zack Greinke from the Royals to the Brewers two winters ago. He spent the year between AA and AAA (just like Myers), and the 22-year old posted a 3.03 ERA in 145 1/3 innings, striking out 135 and walking 50. Many prospect analysts project him as a three or four starter, but that doesn't make him some sort of throw-in with consideration to this deal. Montgomery's career has been a mess since a 2010 season that saw him post a 2.61 ERA in 93 innings. His command has faltered over the past two seasons, and he's been getting hit around the minor leagues like a pinata. But again, age is on Montgomery's side. He's just 23-years old, and maybe a new organization can find what's ailing him. Leonard is the least-known of the particulars involved in this trade. A fifth round pick in the 2011 draft, he made his pro debut in the Appalachian League this season and OPSed .833 with 14 homers and 30 walks in 62 games. He still has a ways to go before he'll contribute in the majors. The Royals are making a statement that contending in 2013 is more important than contending in years beyond those. Shields will likely be gone after the next two seasons, the Royals will be left with Davis and nothing else. Now, who knows what could happen this season? Shields could lead a revamped Kansas City rotation to the AL Central title and postseason success, while Myers could be just another overly hyped prospect that disappoints in the majors. But the general consensus right now is that the Royals made a ballsy, big move to try to move the thermometer this season, and that they need more than James Shields and Wade Davis to conquer the division. As for the Rays, they're doing what they do. Tampa Bay loses a starting pitcher and a reliever, and has prospects ready to step into those roles (Odorizzi, Chris Archer to name a pair). The Rays made a rational, well-informed decision by making this trade, while the Royals seemingly were dripping with desperation in their attempt to become relevant again. [follow]
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Kevin Sumlin: Texas A&M players have 'chip on their shoulder'

WATCH: Elvis Andrus steals home against Padres

Seahawks went on Hawaiian vacation to ease SB tension

Robert Kraft: Deflategate 'most overblown story' in NFL

Top 10 storylines for Week 1 of college football season

Jim Tressel once sent touching note to family of Michigan OL

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Sony cut 'Concussion' scenes to avoid angering NFL

Ryan Clark: Trent Richardson is 'worst RB of all time'

Report: David Feherty won't be back at CBS Sports

Warren Moon: RG3 needs to start taking the blame

Lovullo: I don’t see Hanley Ramirez playing left field again in 2015

Judge Berman’s one-sentence order repeats Deflategate decision timeline

Harbaugh named starting QB but won't announce it

Ohio State downplays revenge talk ahead of Va. Tech rematch

WATCH: D-backs pitcher fails on quick pitch attempt

Ex-FSU WR Snoop Minnis trolls rival Florida in great way

Suspicous photo may lead to drug test for CC Sabathia

How the Houston Astros went from garbage to gold

Jack Eichel plans to move in with teammate Matt Moulson

Report: Bills GM 'went rogue’ in cutting Fred Jackson

Terrance Knighton irked by Redskins-Kardsashians comparison

Connor Cook on not being named Michigan State captain: 'It stinks'

Danny Amendola’s advice to those on roster bubble? ‘Control what you can’

Dallas Cowboys: Rookies to watch

Apple reportedly sought exclusive rights to new Bill Simmons podcast

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Top 10 storylines for Week 1 of college football season

Underdogs: Hopefuls that can shock in the World Cup

Manfred digs Shoeless Joe a deeper grave

Why Mike Trout ain't right

The Opening Drive: Jamal Anderson warns UM fans before heading to Salt Lake City

Best and worst MLB players in August

RG3 blames intern for liking Instagram post trashing owner

Four most surprising roster cuts from NFL teams

Raiders cut Trent Richardson

Caroline Wozniacki smoking cover of ‘Rhapsody’

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker