Yes, It’s A Disappointing Royals Trade, But It’s Not The End Of The World Reviewed by Momizat on . First off, I’d like to thank the Royals for finishing off the Wil Myers trade late on the night before I left town for a business trip. Real helpful, boys. Be First off, I’d like to thank the Royals for finishing off the Wil Myers trade late on the night before I left town for a business trip. Real helpful, boys. Be Rating: 0
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Yes, It’s A Disappointing Royals Trade, But It’s Not The End Of The World

Yes, It’s A Disappointing Royals Trade, But It’s Not The End Of The World

First off, I’d like to thank the Royals for finishing off the Wil Myers trade late on the night before I left town for a business trip. Real helpful, boys. Before the weekend, I actually figured something big would happen on Monday when I would barely have computer access.

But enough whining, on to the actual trade.

Like many Royals fans, I was shocked when I first heard the news of the trade. Sure, the rumors had been flying since midway through the winter meetings last week, but discussing trading Wil Myers in the abstract was very different than hearing that it was indeed real.

After thinking about this trade for a while, I’ve decided that while I don’t hate it, I am a bit disappointed. I think the Royals gave up too much overall—not just Myers, but Jake Odorizzi and Mike Montgomery. I think this trade was based on an overly optimistic view of where the team is, and I understand that it’s painful for Royals fans to see promising prospects dealt away when we’ve been trained to value them like family members.

I can kind of understand giving up Myers. If you want quality pitching, trading for it will be costly. I can also understand giving up Montgomery. He still has good velocity, still has excellent secondary pitches, is still a left-hander. But for whatever reason, it wasn’t working for him in this organization. Sometimes, you just have to take a chance that a player like that will not figure things out after he’s traded. And if it does, you just might have to tip your cap to the team that helped him unlock the potential.

It’s giving up Odorizzi that makes me scratch my head a bit. The Royals made quite a bit of noise recently about not blocking young pitchers. They also made a lot of noise about their ridiculous $70 million “soft cap.” So why would they deal a starting pitcher with promise who also will be cost-controlled for the next three seasons before being eligible for arbitration? It’s true that Odorizzi’s likely ceiling is as a number three starter. That means league-average, and there is value in that.

Giving up two of those three players is understandable, even if I don’t especially like it. Giving up all three hurts, especially in the long run.

Let’s be clear, though. The Royals got a very good pitcher in James Shields. They got a promising and potentially very good pitcher in Wade Davis. You can hate this trade all you want, but you can’t deny that Shields is the best Royals’ starter since Zack Greinke (not as good as Greinke, of course, but still quite good). Shields is two years one year removed from a top-three finish in the AL Cy Young Award voting, has posted an ERA+ over 100 in five of his six full seasons, and only an oddly inflated .344 BABIP (batting average on balls in play) in 2010 kept him from a sixth. His walk rate has been 2.3 per 9 innings in each of the last three seasons, while his strikeout rate has been above 8 per 9 innings in those three seasons. He’s not an ace, but Shields is a workhorse (over 200 innings pitched in each of the last six seasons) who is also a solid number two starter (which of course puts him at the top of the Royals rotation). Although he is under contract for only the next two seasons (he has already indicated an interest in signing an extension), the Royals’ rotation now has its bell cow, at least for a while.

Davis has shown promise as a starter in two full seasons, and was nails as a relief pitcher last year. While the bullpen is obviously the Royals’ biggest strength, you can never have too many relievers. Early indications are that he will be given a chance to win a starting spot, though. If he does, and you’re counting at home, that is a rotation of Shields, Jeremy Guthrie, Ervin Santana, Bruce Chen, and Davis. Note the absence of Luke Hochevar—a clear case of addition by subtraction. If Santana and Chen can rebound a bit from rough 2011 seasons, that’s a pretty good rotation. Not the best in the AL Central, but I’d say it’s the second-best behind Detroit. If Danny Duffy and Felipe Paulino can adequately recover from their Tommy John surgeries and contribute, the Royals might suddenly be in the highly unusual position of having too many quality starters.

Of course, the key word in the above paragraph is “if.” This is where I start to question this trade. Last week I discussed trades of top prospects and concluded that, if a team is really close to title contention, trading a prize prospect for the final piece can be a good idea. However, I have a hard time buying that this team, which won 72 games last year, has what it takes to win 90 games in 2013, even with an upgraded rotation. For one thing, that sort of turnaround would depend on Santana and Chen having seasons more like their 2011 years than their 2012. It would depend on Guthrie maintaining his effectiveness from last season. More than anything, it would depend on bounceback years from Eric Hosmer and Jeff Francoeur, plus continued offensive improvement from Mike Moustakas. Other questions in my mind: Lorenzo Cain’s ability to stay healthy, the whole second base situation, and whether Salvador Perez can play a full season and still hit like we’ve seen him do. To me, these things have various odds of working out in the Royals’ favor, but very seldom in sports does everything go right for a team, especially in baseball. Are the Royals better than they were on Opening Day 2012? I would say yes. But I would also say they are not better enough, and now they’ve traded a piece that could have replaced their weakest link on the field, Jeff Francoeur. They would have been better off jettisoning Frenchy and Hochevar and using that money and whatever else they could scrape up to go after Anibal Sanchez or Edwin Jackson.

Finally, I’d just like to say that I totally understand the disdain for this trade. The Royals have conditioned us to expect the worst out of whatever situation arises. So predictions that Myers would win multiple MVP awards in Tampa while Montgomery and Odorizzi take turns winning Cy Young Awards make sense, even though they are surely a little bit tongue-in-cheek. The Royals’ front office deserves whatever scorn you want to heap on them, since they have not put any team better than 75 wins on the field in six full seasons. I do believe Myers will be a successful major-leaguer, and Odorizzi will be a useful piece. I’m still not sold on Montgomery, but there is at least a chance he’ll turn into another useful arm.

But sometimes you have to take a chance. It is true that by not developing their own pitching better, the Royals brought this deal on themselves. However, sometimes you have to try to win games at the major league level. This fanbase deserves success, and this move gives the Royals a slightly better chance at it, at least in the next two years. Sure, it reeks of Dayton Moore sacrificing the long-term to save his job, but on the other hand, any success he experiences is going to be enjoyable for us as fans. If this works out, the 2013 and 2014 seasons will be the best summers we’ve had in many years. If it doesn’t work out, the Dayton Moore haters will get their wish, and a new GM will come in, with a highly-talented farm system still in place. I don’t want to be preachy or give the impression that I endorse this trade, but I will say that no one knows how it will play out, and there are reasons to believe that this team can succeed.

About The Author

I grew up in Topeka, and learned to love the Royals over many summer nights listening to Denny and Fred. Of course, the Royals were much easier to love back then. They got their claws in me some 30 years ago, then they went to the playoffs in 1984 and won it all in 1985. And I thought to myself, "This is easy. This team is always going to be good!" Sigh. But what can I say? If I've made it this far, I suppose I will always be a fan. But whenever they get good again, I'll be sure not to take it for granted. I promise. I'm also a fan of the Chiefs, Jayhawks (even the football team), Sporting KC, and the Nashville Predators. By day, I'm a mild-mannered project manager for a publishing company, and every night I'm lucky to come home to my amazing wife Michelle. We've been married since 2005 and live in Overland Park. Fun fact, she grew up in Memphis watching many future Royals when Kansas City's AA team was there. So it didn't take much to make a Royals fan out of her. We don't have kids, but we've got three cats (one named after Alex Gordon) and a dog. Follow me on Twitter! @Darin_Watson

Number of Entries : 410

Comments (4)

  • Darin Watson

    Good catch, mungakc! I fixed it. I am excited for next year, too. It’s going to be interesting to watch this play out.

  • unclejesse

    At first I didnt really like the trade, but the truth is the major league team got better, good thing for the fans. I have said it before, KC is desperate for a team that is good. My honest feeling is Shields makes every pitcher on this staff better. If after the All-Star break this team is above or around .500 the Glass family will be making so much stinking money because the place will be at or around capacity. That means more money to spend in the off season next year which means even better players than what this team has. Yes we as Royals fans can be sour grapes that we gave up a lot to get two pitchers but how long have we talked about needing studs and when we finally get them we get scared that we gave up to much. I for one am happy that the Royals have gone in a different direction that they ever have before under the GMDM era. Hopefully this means success because what we have done up to this point was stock piling talent for other teams to have once our best players got tired of losing. Alpha dogs don’t stick around if the team sucks no matter how much money you throw at them.

  • mungakc

    Correction; it was only one year ago that Shields finished third in the Cy Young voting. Also, I don’t believe all those positive developments have to happen together next season for the Royals to sniff 90 wins. If you want a glimpse, just ask Shields what happened to the Rays 6 years ago.

  • KcBill

    I applaud the Royals for making a conscious effort to improve the biggest weakness on the team. However, I feel like the prospect package that we sent warranted a better pitcher than Shields. Also I wish we obtained a pitcher with a three year window or so that we could control his contract. I’m probably overvaluing our own prospects, but that is a lot to give up to own Shields for 2 years. If the Royals make the playoffs then I believe it worked, but if they flounder and end up flipping Shields by the deadline next year for scraps that will sting. Especially if Myers turns into the all star most of us expect. Odorizzi’s ceiling as far as anyone has said is a number 3 starter so getting rid of him in the deal wasn’t crushing. I don’t know why I have this feeling that the rays will be able to figure out Monty and turn him into a successful starter. I hope I’m wrong about that. Patrick Leonard was a throw in, but he’s shown some definite power potential early on. If we were able to get Shields and Matt Moore I would’ve been satisfied. But the kicker for me in this deal is Wade Davis. If we are able to mold him into a successful starter, then that’s huge. But if he’s just going to be bullpen depth. An area we’re already really solid in, I just think we gave up way too much for a two year Shields rental. I understand that Glass won’t pony up the dough in Free Agency, so we would have to improve the rotation through a trade or farm. The royals pulled off a trade, I’m just not sure it’s the right one. There’s no question that our pitching staff got a lot better after sunday though. I am excited for next year. It will be really tough watching Myers and Co crush for the Rays. If indeed that is what happens. I know the track record of the minor league players of the year doesn’t exactly suggest Myers will be a bust. Hopefully we can finally make the playoffs and put all the doubts about this trade to bed.

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