Royals Acquire James Shields and Wade Davis Reviewed by Momizat on . In a continued effort to improve a rotation that ranked as one of the worst in baseball, the Royals have acquired James Shields, Wade Davis and a player to be n In a continued effort to improve a rotation that ranked as one of the worst in baseball, the Royals have acquired James Shields, Wade Davis and a player to be n Rating: 0
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Royals Acquire James Shields and Wade Davis

Royals Acquire James Shields and Wade Davis

In a continued effort to improve a rotation that ranked as one of the worst in baseball, the Royals have acquired James Shields, Wade Davis and a player to be named later in exchange for Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery and Patrick Leonard. Let’s start with those principles before we get into what the Royals gave up. James Shields is the biggest big league name in this deal and he will be the guy who headlines the Royals rotation. He has the classic pitcher’s build standing at 6’4″ and 215 lbs and has been the definition of a workhorse over the last six seasons averaging 222 innings per year in that time with a high of 249.1 and a low of 203.1. Shields went 15-10 last season with a 3.52 ERA in 227.2 innings striking out 223 batters and walking 58. He strikes a good amount of guys out and limits his walks while limiting hits. I think he’s probably more of a number two, but he’ll do an admirable job as the Royals ace in 2013.

Wade Davis is a little less cut and dry. He is another big bodied pitcher who appears to be able to handle quite a workload. His first 64 big league games were spent in the rotation where went 25-22 with a 4.22 ERA over 388.1 innings. His stuff isn’t as good as you’d expect for a guy his size as his fastball sat in the low 90s while in the rotation. He struck out a shade under six per nine while walking more than three batters per nine innings. In an effort to get the most out of his ability, the Rays shifted Davis to the bullpen where he excelled with a 2.43 ERA in 70.1 innings allowing just 48 hits and striking out 87 batters. He saw his velocity spike about two miles per hour. He’ll start with the Royals, so hopefully his velocity increase will stick with him as Zack Greinke’s did after his stint in the bullpen.

In Wil Myers, the Royals gave up their top prospect for these two. Shields is under contract for 2013 at $9 million with a club option in 2014 for $12 million. Davis is under contract through 2014 for a total of $7.6 million with three club options for $7 million, $8 million and $10 million through 2017, so they’re getting a potential of seven seasons for Myers, six seasons of Odorizzi, a disappointing Montgomery and a far away third base prospect. Myers, of course, was the 2012 Baseball America Player of the Year and put up video game numbers in the minor leagues this season. To give him up had to be difficult for the Royals, but they felt it was worth it to go for it in 2013.

I said the other day that I wouldn’t want to trade Wil Myers for James Shields simply because I don’t think Shields gets the Royals to the playoffs in 2013 and probably not in 2014, so the upgrade just isn’t worth it. Even with this trade being expanded to include Wade Davis as another piece of the Royals rotation, my gut says this is a job saving attempt for Dayton Moore and he’s hurting the long-term future of the club by dealing one of the best bats in the minor leagues. That said, the fact that Davis is included at five seasons for a bit over $30 million if all the options are picked up is at least a little bit helpful and gives the Royals a more competitive rotation than they had yesterday.

Right now, it looks like the rotation will stack up with Shields, Guthrie, Santana, Davis and a competition both in spring training and in the off-season depending on who gets traded among guys like Luis Mendoza, Bruce Chen, Luke Hochevar, Guillermo Moscoso, Will Smith and anybody else you can think of. So the rotation is better, and that’s difficult to argue. They have a guy who will take the ball everyday and give you innings which allows the Royals to save their talented bullpen so they aren’t burned out by mid-August. I imagine this team will hover around .500 or so and could find some lightning in a bottle and get to 85 or 86 wins, especially if one or both of Paulino and Duffy come back strong.

Ultimately, the 2013 season will be defined by how the offense progresses. Let’s not forget that this is a unit that finished 12th in baseball in runs scored. With James Shields, the Royals have a pitcher who I think is someone you can count on every fifth day to keep you in games, which is something they didn’t have at any point in 2012. I imagine they’ll look for some salary relief by trading both Bruce Chen and Luke Hochevar. There will be a market for the former, but the latter might be more difficult to move with his arbitration case pending.

Losing Myers hurts. As Clint has talked about and I’ve agreed with on many occasions, he has a shot to be something really special. I know the argument that prospects are no sure things, but man oh man does Myers look like he’ll be something special. It’s going to hurt to see him perform for the Rays when we had him so close to being a potential superstar with the Royals, but like I said above, the Royals felt that he was worth giving up to get two rotation upgrades.

The second principle piece reportedly going back to the Rays is one of the team’s best pitching prospects, Jake Odorizzi, who was acquired in the deal for Zack Greinke prior to the 2011 season. Odorizzi was fantastic in the minors in 2012 and struggled a little in his two big league starts in September. He struggled with pitch efficiency in the minors and many reports indicated he didn’t really have an out pitch which would have made it difficult for him to succeed at the big league level. When I saw him, I saw a starter who could be a number three guy. I don’t think I mind giving Odorizzi up in this deal, but I don’t like giving him up in tandem with Wil Myers.

Mike Montgomery will do well with a change of scenery and the opportunity to pitch on a club so decorated in their ability to develop pitchers. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see him excel in the Rays organization and become a good big league starter, possibly in 2013. After so much hope for Montgomery, it was absolutely time to move on from him. He’s another guy I have no problem giving up.

Patrick Leonard was a fifth round pick in 2011 and put up solid numbers in his first year in the rookie league last year hitting .251/.340/.494. He’s got a long way to go, but has some potential.

Follow me on Twitter @DBLesky

About The Author

I never had a chance. I was born into a family who loved baseball and the Royals, so I accordingly love baseball and the Royals. I just so happen to love to write also, which makes writing about the Royals for this site something that makes me happy each and every day. When I first started blogging, a fairly well known baseball writer told me to only do it until I'm unhappy doing it, but I don't see that coming any time soon.

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Comments (3)

  • unclejesse

    All I am going to say about this trade is that this will finally be a fun year to be a Royals fan. We have put together a pretty darn good rotation that if all things work the way we hope should be just fine, shields pitches in the 3 era range, Santana goes back to 10′ and 11′ numbers, Guthrie pitches all year like he finished last year, Davis already is what people think Odorizzi could become, and we will have a real battle for the #5 spot. And don’t forget that at some point this year and hopefully for all of next year we will have Duffy and Paulino coming back. I am pumped up for this year. Just think what will happen when all the great KC fans start showing up to the K again. KC has some of the best fans in all of sports and when we have even a little taste of winning we show up in droves. Myers, could be a stud, Montgomery could turn it around and Odorizzi could develop into a #3 type starter, if that happens well suck, but when the K gets rockin and all of KC starts showing up to watch the Royals win, we won’t care and then Glass will have a ton more money to spend on guys. Well as always I went longer than my original point but I am just to excited to get bent out of shape thinking about what guys could be, right now KC has guys that are studs, not possible studs. Lastly, just think what a winning culture could do for all the young hitters we already have. good things are coming!

  • jim fetterolf

    Expected a little more sturm und drang on this, much of the blogosphere being in high dudgeon.

    My take is that Shields is a #1, although perhaps not an ace, has averaged about 3.9 fW the last six years, Ks people at a high rate, and, as you point out, eats innings. That’s something we haven’t had for awhile and he fits well at the front of the rotation for us. Davis may be something of a lottery ticket, has good stuff and finding a repeatable release point last year helped his results. Even his earlier starter numbers would have made him the 2 or 3 on last year’s staff, so slots him as 4 or 5 this year.

    On what we gave up, they were prospects, so no sure value. Myers may be great, he may be good, either way we may not know for a few years, big step from Werner to the bigger K where a lot of Wil’s homers end up being long fly outs and where he’ll face even better breaking stuff every day than he would in a week at Omaha. I wouldn’t have traded him, based on philosophy of building a small market team, but I’m fairly sure that Myers wouldn’t have delivered the value in KC that Shields will over the next two years. We’ve had too many saviors come up before to assume that Myers will be an impact player soon.

    Odorizzi looked a bit iffy last year, even with the numbers. Threw too many pitches, not enough innings, and doesn’t really have compelling velocity or stuff. I figured him to start at Omaha and probably get passed by Yordano Ventura for promotion.

    Mike Montgomery is interesting, LH with stuff who can’t command his FB and has a touch of the Hochevar head. I’ve both predicted that his future is as a closer and that he would be a throw-in on a trade.

    Philosophically, I prefer the Tampa Way, trade old for young and expensive for cheap. If acquiring old and expensive I prefer FA rather than trade. But I get the feeling that the big FAs just didn’t want to come to KC, so this trade was probably the only way to get a #1 SP. I also think Marcum may still be in play and expect some more trades. Ground ball pitchers Mendoza and Adcock would both be good fits in Colorado, as an example.

  • forthepie

    Not a big fan of the new page layout for the site.

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