Brian Graham & Justin Mayhugh, KC SportsNation
Former MLB GM Jim Bowden, now of ESPN was on radio here in KC stating, and we paraphrase here, “it is winning time in KC and if they are serious about winning, they will make a trade to show it – and it will hurt. They will be ripped for it, but it’ll be something that they have to do.”
He speaks truth.
It happened – and the Royals were ripped.
First we saw the Royals had traded for James Shields. Huge. Then Wade Davis was in the deal. Nice addition.
Then we saw RF Wil Myers, Baseball America’s Minor League Player of the Year, was in the deal. Ouch that hurt. Then Jake Odorizzi, the Royals top pitching prospect. Are you kidding me? ARE YOU KIDDING me? Oh yeah, and Mike Montgomery, our former top pitching prospect as well as some other dude (3B Patrick Leonard).
WTF did the Royals just do? That was the initial reaction.
But, after letting it settle a but, it is not so bad. I am torn on the deal. Myers seems like the real deal. Then, again “Big Game James” Shields is too. How many of our other prospects were the next big thing? Odorizzi, by most experts is projected to be a No. 3 starter. Saw him pitch this year in Omaha and he leaves the ball up and gets away with a lot of stuff down there that he won’t be able to at the big league level and his pitch count prevented him from going deep into games almost every time out. Monty may never make it (but that is not our luck). I don’t necessarily like it, but it is not awful. Davis really is the key part of the deal for the deal since he in under control through 2017. He will be inserted into the bullpen and if he becomes an average to above average starter in Kansas City for the next 4-5 years, that’ll be huge. He pitched out of the bullpen to make room for Matt Moore, where he posted a 2.43 ERA, but posted a 4.27 ERA as a starter in 2010-11. If Myers is a 20-25 HR guy, then it’s OK. If he hits 40, well, then…
Fact of the matter is, this is all new to us here in KC, but other teams, all across the league, do it all the time. But rarely – if ever – is it the Minor League Player of the Year. Time will tell. I hope it works out. Pitching is the currency of baseball, and we needed it. I still think we gave up a lot. This also means Frenchy is in RF next year. But it also means we still have Gordon, Hoz, Moose, Perez and Esky play 4 legit names in the rotation? When was the last time we could say that? Odorizzi might not have made the team out of the spring anyway and our last three opening day starters – Bruce Chen and Luke Hochevar – will have to fight for a rotation spot (No. 5 starter, which is what they are) and/or a roster spot, in addition to the “Mexican Mullet” Luis Mendoza, who had the best season of the three and Danny #TeachMeHowtoDuffy and Felipe Paulino coming off the DL from Tommy John surgeries in May/June. Don’t freak out. It could work out. If the Royals win, I don’t care if they traded away the entire farm.
Prospect – A candidate deemed likely to succeed.
When word broke out late Sunday night that the Royals had made the trade, as expected, fans were pissed. These are the same guys that want us to make a deal, then hate it everytime we do. Rob Neyer says its the worst trade in history? Is Ed Hearn in the deal? Then no, it isn’t the worst deal in MLB history.
Fans wondered how Dayton Moore and the Royals’ front office could justify trading away Myers, as well as three others for a 31 year-old pitcher (Shields) that wasn’t even the #1 pitcher on his former team (that would be David Price), and a pitcher (Davis) who seems like a better fit in the bullpen than where the Royals really need help in their starting rotation.
The key word in this whole trade scenario is “prospects.” Potential is a scary thing in baseball. It’s a word that Royals fans should be quite familiar with. Kansas City has had a number of the top prospects funnel through their farm systems over the years, and recently we’ve seen a number of those prospects make their jump into the big leagues.
Alex Gordon, Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Aaron Crow, etc.
The problem is, none of these “top prospects” have actually lived up to their minor league status as being “sure things”, basically because prospects are unknown quantities to a great extent, and because in reality, there are no “sure things.”
Many players have looked great in the minors only to flounder once they make the jump.
True, Gordon has finally come into his own for the Royals in the last two seasons, hitting at or close to .300 and knocking in around 80 RBIs over that time.
But people seem to forget that when Gordon was tearing up the minor leagues, in Kansas City he was already being hailed as the next George Brett. Gordon, like Myers, was the Minor League Player of the Year. The three hitters to win the award that followed Gordon were: Jay Bruce, Matt Weiters and Jason Heyward, all studs. Myers was the next. In fact 12 of the last 14 hitters to win the award have turned into stars, and one of two had a mitochondrial disease.
Gordon or Eric Hosmer will never be George Brett, but in all reality, Gordon should have never had that burden placed on his shoulders. And yet it was, and Gordon has failed to live up to those lofty expectations, even though he is a very good player now in his own right. It only took him four plus years playing in the majors to get to that point. So, what if it took Myers the same?
Moustakas, Hosmer, and Crow are still way too early into their Major League careers to successfully gauge whether they will be successes or not, but none of them have blown up the majors the way in which many fans thought when these players were playing down in the minors and Crow is not even a starting pitcher anymore.
Wil Myers was the next can’t-miss prospect for the Royals. The next “sure thing.” And now he’s gone, essentially in exchange for James Shields.
I understand the sentiment of many fans who are outraged by the move. They see that the Royals could have held on to “the next sure thing” for the next seven years. It hurts to see a prospect like that go.
But for years now the only hope Royals fans have had is in the future. The feeling of “three years down the road, when all of these prospects in the minors turn into Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, and Cy Young, the Royals will be awesome.” But finally, for once the Royals organization made a move that says “we can win now.”
You win with pitching in the majors, and unfortunately for the Royals, pitching is what they didn’t have. The Shields acquisition will help the Kansas City Royals a ton more than Wil Myers would next season.
It’s common knowledge that in regards to making trades in sports, you have to give up something to get something in return. Did the Royals give up too much? Possibly. Maybe Myers ends up being the next Mark Trumbo, or the next Bryce Harper at the plate. But then again, maybe he doesn’t.
He probably won’t.
In all likelihood, most of these top prospects will fall somewhere in between the realm of being superstars and busts.
At the end of the day a top prospect is still just a prospect. He’s a player that the experts have deemed “likely to succeed.” Unfortunately experts are wrong a good portion of the time.
With James Shields, the Royals already know what they have; a No. 1 pitcher, a proven commodity, and a pitcher better than anyone else in the Royals’ rotation.
Obviously, only time will tell who got the better end of this deal. Most of the experts, as well as most of the Royals fan base, feel that the Royals got fleeced.
Maybe the Royals gave up too much, but for the first time in a long time, the Royals are legitimately trying to win now. And if that doesn’t get you excited, I don’t know what will.
The knock on Shields is his splits away from the Trop aren’t very good. How does 3.35 ERA and 3.80 ERA sound on the road? It will be much easier to pitch on the road in this division as compared to the East. Or, that Shields career ERA is 3.90, but how does a 31-22 record with a 3.15 ERA, 14 complete games in 66 games started the last two seasons with a 1.103 WHIP and 448 K’s pitching in the AL East sound? If you go to Shields Baseball Reference page, the most comparable player to him is Zack Greinke. Will you take that Royals fans?