Trading Wil Myers – The Cons and Sort of Pros Reviewed by Momizat on . photo by Minda Haas First of all, if you haven't read the first installment in the article by Greg Schaum about Wil Myers, you really have to. It's excellent wo photo by Minda Haas First of all, if you haven't read the first installment in the article by Greg Schaum about Wil Myers, you really have to. It's excellent wo Rating:
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Trading Wil Myers – The Cons and Sort of Pros

Trading Wil Myers – The Cons and Sort of Pros

photo by Minda Haas

First of all, if you haven’t read the first installment in the article by Greg Schaum about Wil Myers, you really have to. It’s excellent work and the rest will be coming out soon. He’s worked crazy hard on it and I’m excited to see what’s next in it. You can find it here.

While the timing is unfortunate due to Greg’s article, the rumors are swirling that the Royals may be willing to part with Wil Myers in their never ending quest to get the top of the rotation starter they have been seeking since parting with Zack Greinke. It’s very easy to scoff at the idea of trading the best prospect in the organization who plays a position where the Royals have an immediate need offensively, but I think it’s a good idea to step back and see what the ups and downs of trading Wil Myers would be. Of course, pros or ups isn’t exactly the right word to use because you hate to lose a guy like Myers, but there are some reasons why trading him wouldn’t be a terrible idea.

Unfortunately, as I’ve mentioned before, the Royals are in this position because of an inability to develop starting pitching. Amid all the roster construction issues and loyalty jokes we’ve made about Dayton Moore, the reason the Royals have ultimately been unable to make real progress in the American League Central is the fact that in six seasons, Danny Duffy is the only starting pitcher of note drafted by the organization to make it to the big leagues. The numbers are still there for that to change and for the Royals to graduate a few pitchers to the big leagues in the next year or two, but I wouldn’t bet on it. So here we are, in a situation where the team needs to either spend money on the free agent market or trade something of value to get something of value. And right now, I think Wil Myers and Eric Hosmer are probably the two players in the organization with the most value to return what the Royals need.

Like I said before, my first thought when talking about trading Wil Myers is that the Royals have to hold onto him, but as I think deeper about it, I realize there are reasons why it might actually make sense. And it will hurt, but the Royals are in a situation where if they want to pick up that top of the rotation guy, they’re going to have to deal for it rather than develop it. So let’s start with some reasons why trading Wil Myers makes sense and is actually okay.

  • The first thing that pops into my head is the fact that Wil Myers is a prospect and has yet to succeed at the big league level. I recognize and agree that this is something we should have had an opportunity to see, but we didn’t, so we just don’t know. And I”m not sure any fan base knows better than Royals fans that prospects don’t always pan out. We’ve seen it time and time again over the last 20 years or so. I understand that each prospect is different and that development curves aren’t necessarily the same player to player, but I think every organization needs to understand that prospects sometimes don’t work and if you can get a legitimate big league player for one, you really have to consider it. I didn’t say do it, but you have to think about it.
  • If the Royals can’t find a way to get seven innings from their starters more than twice every two weeks, they need to help the rotation. If trading Wil Myers allows the Royals to pick up a starter who they control for four or more seasons, then it might be worth the hit the offense will take in that time period. I think Wil Myers is going to be a special hitter and I’ll get into that in the reasons why trading him seems ridiculous, but I just don’t see how this team can do more than win 83 or 84 games without some serious starting pitching included.
  • It’s easier to find 75% of the production of the potential of Wil Myers than it is to find 75% of the production of a starting pitcher that we could see as the return in a possible trade. Like I said, I believe Wil Myers will be a special player, but let’s say he’s a .300/.400/.525 guy. You look at a guy like Cody Ross who put up an .807 OPS last season for the Red Sox. That’s not nearly as good as Wil Myers’ potential, but guys like him can be had to replace the production. If Myers brings back a pitcher who can slot at the top of many rotations, he’s a guy with a 3.25-3.50 FIP and I think that’s just a little more valuable as I go back to my second point.

As you can see, I had to stretch a little with that third point, but I do believe it to at least some extent. I’m already leaning toward going back to hating the idea of trading Wil Myers, but there are definitely reasons why it makes sense for the Royals. Here’s why it doesn’t.

  • Right handed bats with the potential of Wil Myers simply do not come around every day. And then when you think about adding him to a lineup with three lefty bats in Eric Hosmer, Alex Gordon and Mike Moustakas and two righty bats in Billy Butler and Salvador Perez, you start to see an offense that could provide some of the best balance in the game. We all joke about Ned Yost’s desire to have a left/right/left/right lineup, but if everybody takes steps forward, it would be really tough to navigate through that Royals lineup using bullpen specialists. If the Royals are going to compete, they need to make life difficult for their opponents and that kind of lineup balance does it. Plus, right-handed bats like Wil Myers are difficult to find.
  • I think Wil Myers is a superstar just waiting to emerge and I’m not the only one with that opinion. His mindset and ability combined make me believe that he’s going to become one of the very best players in baseball. He could very easily be the face of the franchise, which means a lot to a lower revenue team like the Royals. As much as the Royals want to sell that they can build around Hosmer both on and off the field, I think Myers is really the guy Kansas City relates to. And I think he might be the better hitter, too.
  • You’re running a big risk by trading him for a pitcher. Just as we know as well as anybody what can happen with prospects, we also know what can happen to pitchers. They get hurt. Far too many of them get hurt and find themselves either out for a significant period of time, thus nullifying their value, but sometimes they come back as different pitchers. The reason many people believe you should always draft a position player in the first round of the draft is because position players bust far less often than pitchers. There’s just so much that can happen to a pitcher even after getting to the big leagues and having success that it just provides a big risk. Possibly too big of a risk to to lose their best prospect and a guy who can be a fixture in the middle of their order for years to come.
  • This isn’t necessarily about Wil Myers, but I’m not entirely sure I trust the Royals front office to make this trade and make it well. If the Royals are going to be able to trade Wil Myers for a guy like David Price (obviously more would be involved), sure I’d do it in a heartbeat, but I feel like it’d be more for a guy like Jeremy Hellickson. I like Hellickson just fine, but he’s not worth the potential of Wil Myers, no matter how starved the Royals are for pitching. Maybe it’s irrational, but I think the package Dayton Moore would trade Wil Myers for might make us shake our head for years.

Ultimately, like every trade, it comes down to the return. If it’s someone like the aforementioned Price (it won’t be), you have to do it because he’s one of the best pitchers in baseball. If it’s a guy who is likely a number three starter, then it’s going to make me gag a little if it happens. And finally, if it’s someone in between, well, I have to say without knowing what the return is that I’d predict the Royals would lose that trade in the long run. I’ll say it again. I think Wil Myers is special. I know the Royals need pitching, but they have a deep enough system that they should be able to get creative and not give up their top prospect and potentially one of their best trading chips unless they’re overwhelmed to the point that it’s probably beyond the value of Myers. The next couple of weeks will be very interesting in how the future of the franchise is shaped. Let’s just hope they make the right call.

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.

Number of Entries : 755

Comments (7)

  • royalinvirginia

    Don’t want to see him go for a pitcher we control <4 years, unless of course it's Price. One of the few I'd be OK with is Matt Moore, but he's probably unattainable. He's not only a very good pitcher but also has club friendly contract. Please, please — not a high-priced stud that will be gone in 2 yrs.

  • unclejesse

    This may be an insanely stupid comment but I am going to make it anyway. If I was running a baseball team one thing I would try to keep in mind is that people still love to see their team score. While we can all say that a 1-0 pitchers dual is fun, the truth is the average fan wants to see 6-5 wins more than 1-0. Maybe I am wrong, but given that knowledge what brings in more money and more wins. Having a bunch of 3-4 type starters and having a lineup that scores you some serious runs. My option if its worth anything is to keep Myers, and sign a Brandon McCarthy or a Dan Haren. Heck sign them both to two year deals and or a one year with crazy incentives, if you end up paying them a lot of money its becasue you are wining and the K would be full at that point. Money in, Money out.

  • cpass

    I’m with Bannister: Why is it that everybody thinks Moore will make a bad trade? When he’s traded anyone with actual value, he has done all right. Are we horrified by what he got for Zack Greinke?

    ilroyalfan, please give examples of “DM has been played too often in trades.” Don’t use Melky Cabrera, because the entire industry felt that he did well with that trade. Are you really that horrifed that he sent Leo Nunez (or whatever his name is) to the Marlins for Mike Jacobs? No, Jacobs wasn’t great, but how is that “playing” him?

  • David Lesky

    I’m not sure how that isn’t consistent. It might be worth the hit. Hellickson, in my opinion, would not be worth that hit, no matter how many years he has left on his contract. David Price is a legitimate number one starter. He’s one of the best in baseball, so yeah, I’ll trade six years of Myers for three years of that.

  • mungakc

    David, how about a little consistency! You say ” If trading Wil Myers allows the Royals to pick up a starter who they control for four or more seasons, then it might be worth the hit the offense will take in that time period” and then discount Hellickson (whom they would control for 4 years), but bring up Price (whom they would control for 3 years). You intimate that the Rays wouldn’t trade Price for Myers (I agree), but that you wouldn’t trade Myers for Hellickson. To be fair, the first 2 years of Price and Hellickson’s ML results are not incomparable. Hellickson wins on ERA, ERA+ is a wash, WAR is comparable, and Price wins in IP and K’s. Though Jeremy shows improvement in missing bats in his 2 years, he won’t every touch Price in that category. Hellickson is the Rookie of the Year and then wins a gold glove in year two (not what you trade for, but worth mentioning).

    I don’t think that it is a reach to picture Hellickson as a #2 starter – would you consider a trade for a #2 starter and control for 4 years? Generally, I agree that you don’t trade comparable pitching for comparable offense; pitchers are much too risky and injury prone. But as you point out, an offensive “prospect” is still a prospect. until they succeed at the ML level.

    Keep up the good work, Mark

  • ilroyalfan

    One argument I have seen made often, is that you don’t trade value for value. Meaning, what you lose by trading Myers should be more than made up for with what you get in return. If the Royals lose the trade in the long run because Wil realizes his immense potential, then the Royals should not do it. Of course, no one has a crystal ball. At this point, I think the largest con is the last one you mentioned. DM has been played too often in trades to really trust him with this one. It would take a blockbuster deal, and it just does not seem like the Royals FO would end up on top of it given their history.

  • Bannister19

    I agree with just about everything you said.

    I wouldn’t be too upset with Hellickson but I would be with Lester, due to last season, and Shields due to his age. The 2 year contracts are just not worth it. The Brewers couldn’t do anything with two years with Greinke, Gallardo, Braun, and Fielder for one, I doubt we do it with James Shields.

    Final thought: To be fair to GMDM, his trades have not been bad at all. Dan Cortes? Mark Teahan? Burgos? His worst one was probably Mike Jacobs and trading relievers who end up lying about their name isn’t a terrible sin.

    At the same time, he’s never traded a top 10 Royals prospect, as far as I’m aware (Cortes might’ve been around there but he was tanking), so who knows.

    If it’s not David Price and it requires Myers, don’t do it.
    But hell, if that means the difference between having Chen and Luke in our rotation or not, Its intriguing.

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