Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 12/10/12
Big Game James is headed to the heartland, while the minor league player of the year is moving south. In a blockbuster trade Sunday night, the Tampa Bay Rays dealt right-hander "Big Game" James Shields and two other players to the Kansas City Royals for a package of four prospects, including outfielder Wil Myers, the consensus top player in the minors this year. Kansas City also received right-hander Wade Davis, and it will get a player to be named. Heading to Tampa Bay are right-hander Jake Odorizzi, third baseman Patrick Leonard and left-hander Mike Montgomery. Shields, 30, was a double-digit winner for the Rays in each of the past six seasons. He went 15-10 with a 3.52 ERA in 33 starts last year, leaving his career totals at 87-73 with a 3.89 ERA over 218 appearances, including 217 starts. Since moving into the Tampa Bay rotation in 2006, Shields has rarely missed a start. He also pitched effectively for Tampa Bay in its run to the 2008 World Series, though he wasn't as strong in one postseason start in both 2010 and 2011. He figures to step right in as the ace of a largely unimpressive Kansas City rotation. "Personally I think this is the most difficult trade we've made to date," Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman told reporters. Davis, 27, moved to the bullpen last season and went 3-0 with a 2.43 ERA in 54 appearances after posting a 4.22 ERA over 64 starts from 2009-11. Shields will earn $10.25 million in 2013 with a club option for $12 million in '14, while Davis is scheduled to earn $2.8 million and $4.8 million over the next two seasons. Davis is under club control through 2017. Myers, who turns 22 on Monday, won the minor league player of the year awards given by Baseball America, USA Today and Topps. According to MLB.com, he joined Andruw Jones (1996) and Josh Beckett (2001) as the only players to sweep the three minor league awards in the same season. Myers began the year hitting .343 with 13 home runs and 30 RBI in 35 games with Double-A Northwest Arkansas, which earned him a mid-May promotion to Triple-A Omaha. He hit .304 with 24 home runs and 79 RBI with Omaha. His 37 home runs for the season ranked second in the minor leagues, one behind Darin Ruf of Double-A Reading in the Philadelphia Phillies' organization. Myers' 109 RBI ranked fourth in the minors. Myers has played both center field and right field in recent seasons, and he could wind up in either position for Tampa Bay, which lost its center fielder this offseason when B.J. Upton signed as a free agent with the Atlanta Braves. Odorizzi, 22, made his Major League debut in September, going 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA in two starts. He was named the team's Pitcher of the Year after going 11-3 with a 2.93 ERA in 19 games, including 18 starters, at Omaha following a promotion from Northwest Arkansas. Montgomery, 23, compiled a 10-23 records with a 5.69 ERA and 133 walks over the past two seasons, but posted a 2.27 ERA from 2008-10. He was originally the 36th overall pick of the 2008 Amateur Draft out of Hart High School in Newhall, Calif. Leonard, 20, hit .251 with 14 home runs and 46 RBIs with Rookie-level Burlington in 2012. He was a fifth-round pick in 2011 out of St. Thomas High School in Houston.
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