By pulling the trigger to obtain James Shields from the Tampa Bay Rays, Royals General Manager Dayton Moore effectively sent aÂ shockwaveÂ throughout Major League Baseball, the Royals organization/infrastructure, and the Kansas City Royals fan base.Â December 2nd, 2012 will either become a day that lives in infamy, or it will mark the day the Royals became relevant again.
Some of the league-wide effects of this tradeÂ are common knowledge.Â James Shields was aÂ known trade target for just about every team that was seekingÂ an upgradeÂ in starting pitching–so nearly every team–and the Royals stepped up with the big boys to get him.Â More importantly though, the trade illustrated to MLBÂ players andÂ agentsÂ everywhere that the lowly Kansas City RoyalsÂ are now serious, andÂ are no longer hoping to somehow Forrest Gump their way into winning.Â If this trade works out, hold on to your stockings because players might actually want to play baseball for the Royals.
How about the fact that what the Royals are doing now affectsÂ what other teams are doing?Â The Royals are spurring reaction.Â When has another MLBÂ team given a fat frog’s fanny what move the Royals make?Â The Detroit Tigers not only went on record as saying they hoped the Royals wouldn’t get James Shields, but went to the effort of trying to outbid the Royals for his services.Â The Texas Rangers not only missed out on signing Zack Greinke, but also missed out on their backup plan which was trading for James Shields.Â I honestly believe Anibal Sanchez, Edwin Jackson, and Ryan Dempster will have the Royals to thank for the exorbitant contracts they’re about to receive.Â Why?Â The Royals became a threat with the acquisition of James Shields and Wade Davis.Â They’re not just a threat to their AL Central foes, but also to potential wild card teams.Â Those teams are about to engage in a bidding war for guys like Sanchez, JacksonÂ and Dempster.Â Teams are going to be trying to keep up with the Royals?Â Really?Â Up is down, down is up, left is right, right is left, dogs and cats are mating.
The Royals top-prospect list definitely got a facelift.Â Wil Myers was not just the Royals best prospect, but the best prospect in baseball arguably.Â Shipping off Jake OdorizziÂ and Mike Montgomery certainly changes things as well.Â With respect to the loss of Myers, the Royals top hitting prospect is nowÂ years away from contributing at the big league level whether you believe that prospect is Bubba Starling, AdalbertoÂ Mondesi, CheslorÂ Cuthbert or Jorge Bonifacio.Â Don’t get me wrong, allÂ of those guys have the potential to be stars, but their arrival is not expected anytime soon.
Similarly, the Royals really don’t have any minor league pitching on the brink either.Â Â Jake OdorizziÂ was likely to get a shot at some point in 2013 to pitch in the Royals rotation.Â Now that he’s gone, it may be a while before Royals fans see a prospect crack that rotation.Â I’m a big believer in Kyle Zimmer (Royals 1st round pick in 2012), and it wouldn’t surprise me if he shoots through the minors this year, but at best he doesn’t truly contribute until 2014.Â John Lamb is a different story.Â He was once a very highly touted pitching prospect in this organization, and now was the time when he was projected to contribute, but multiple injuries have pushed that back.Â From there, you hope that prospects like Yordano Ventura and Jason Adam can continue making steady progress.Â Mike Montgomery was once theÂ golden boyÂ of the Royals pitching prospect class.Â His poor 2012 season, and ultimate demotion to AA-ball took some of the shine off, and made him an expendable commodity.Â Â Montgomery isÂ still very young, and the tools are there for him to be successful, but his regression last season pointed toward the need of a change of scenery.Â Fortunately for Montgomery, that change of scenery comes with an exemplary reputation for pitching development.Â Montgomery couldÂ truly be the piece of this trade that makes it a big win for the Rays.
So, as you can see, the Royals paid a hefty price for Shields and Davis, but the cupboard is by no means bare.Â The prospect batch is light at the top, but still hefty in the middle and lower levels.
This trade has a very obvious effect on the Royals pitching rotation.Â Potentially, the Royals will feature four new starters that were not on their Opening Day roster in 2012.Â Bruce Chen and Luke HochevarÂ were considered the leaders of the rotation last year, and now it looks as though they’re in a death matchÂ to earn the 5th spot in the rotation.Â Nevermind the fact that the winner of that contest is merely keeping a seat warm for Danny Duffy or Felipe Paulino.
Oddly enough, in my opinion, a couple of the Royals hitters are feeling the effects of this trade.Â Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, and Wil Myers represented the big three of Royals big time hitting prospects.Â Myers is gone, and Hosmer and MoustakasÂ are coming off somewhat disappointing seasons.Â The pressure is on for Hosmer and Moustakas to not only bounce back, but take a more than modest step towards their perceived potential.Â Without them, Big Game James and company simply cannot compete.
In a town where just a few short days agoÂ the name David Glass couldn’t be muttered without using expletives,Â there is nowÂ a genuine sense of pride sweeping through.Â Â The Royals haven’t won a game yet.Â Hell, they haven’t even thought about reporting for Spring Training yet.Â None of that matters as manyÂ Royals fans are convinced this year will be different.Â You can feel the excitement as Royals fans anxiously await the spring time air to usher in what has the potential to be a special baseball season in Kansas City.Â Sure, hope springs eternal every year when pitchers andÂ catchersÂ report to Spring Training, and every fan base in baseball clings to ideas–most of them fairy-tale dreams–Â that their team could really do it this year.Â Â I’m talking about so much more than a feeling of hope in Kansas City.Â I’m talking about an expectation to win.