One final thought from my end: I'm not saying I love this trade. The most likely scenario is that Shields pitches well enough for the Royals, Myers turns into a good player for the Rays, but the Royals miss the playoffs anyway and the Rays plug along with another 90-win season.
My take is that I understand why the Royals made this deal. Look, if they're ever going to contend with this current crop of players, it will be because Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas turn into stars. If that's going to happen, it's going to start happening in 2013. If that happens and Salvador Perez turns into the Yadier Molina of the American League and Alex Gordon has another big season and Jeff Francoeur has a .765 OPS instead of .665, you can envision the scenario where the Royals score enough runs. If Shields, Jeremy Guthrie and Ervin Santana each pitch 200 innings and the bullpen is as dominant as 2012, you can envision the scenario where the Royals prevent enough runs. Maybe it's wishful thinking, but at some point you have to stop building for the future and say "this is the year."
Hey, it's the Royals. As Jim Caple emailed me, "As far as the negative Royals reaction goes, what else would we expect? They haven't made a move that's worked in 20 years, and they've got the same guy making the decisions as in recent failed years, so why should anyone expect more?"
OK, here's a roundup of some other thoughts on the trade.
Jerry Crasnick received some responses from baseball executives:
- "My initial view was basic shock that Dayton did this," the evaluator said, "especially with so much pitching on the free-agent market. But they have a hard time getting pitching there. They gave up a lot to go all-in, so I applaud the effort. But I'm still shocked."
Joe Posnanski writes 2,400 words with the headline "A desperate grab for hope", so you can kind of guess where he went:
- But is that real? Is that a plan? Or is that just something we impetuous fans might think and respond? Was it really smart for the Royals to push in all their chips right now, possibly trading away the game's next star, for the hope that a lot of things go right in 2013 and a bandaged-up rotation of motivated 30-somethings will lead Kansas City back into relevance?
Joe Sheehan was just as rough in his newsletter, writing that for GM Dayton Moore, "This trade, above and beyond anything else, is the abandonment of the process in the service of self-preservation." Joe adds:
- It seems as if the Royals -- and many more mainstream analysts -- think they've traded for an ace, however, and that's the mistake. Shields is a #2 starter, and if I had to lean, I'd say he's closer to a #3. I say this not to slight him, but to point out that much of what has gone into his performance is a function not of him but the Rays. Few teams put a better defense on the field. No team puts its defenders in better position to succeed. ... Two years ago, he had a 5.18 ERA and Rays fans didn't want him starting in the postseason. I don't want to dismiss Shields; however, there's a gap between his perceived value and his actual value that the Rays have expertly exploited, to the Royals' detriment.
Yahoo's Jeff Passan likes the trade, citing all the negative reaction Sunday night on Twitter:
- They failed to recognize it was a necessary trade. Not necessary because Moore is trying to save his job -- any GM who cultivates the farm system Moore has and locks in Perez, (Alcides) Escobar, Gordon and (Billy) Butler to superb contracts is doing something right -- but because he understood that without better pitching, the Royals weren't winning the American League Central, let alone a World Series. And with owner David Glass handcuffing the team's budget and making a run at
- an impossibility, Moore's options were to dip into a deep cache of young talent and trade for a starter or jam a lesser free agent into an opening day role.
Assuming that Myers does become a star, there are only two ways this deal doesn't become among the worst in the Royals' franchise history. ...
The first way is if the Royals reach the postseason in 2013 or '14, for the first time since 1985. If they do that, the loss of Wil Myers will be widely viewed as an acceptable and justifiable sacrifice. If they do that, they'll probably have gotten some real good work from Shields, who just became the Royals' No. 1 starter by default.
The second way is if Wade Davis becomes a good major-league starting pitcher. In the minors, he was a hot prospect despite relatively unimpressive strikeout-to-walk numbers. As a 24-year-old rookie with the Rays, he won a dozen games with a decent ERA. But Davis didn't really control the strike zone. So after a sub-par 2011, the Rays turned him into a relief pitcher last season. He thrived in that role.
Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star thinks the Royals may have reached too far, believing they're sacrificing 2015 and beyond for 2013 and 2014:
- The Royals are trying to win, in other words, and trying to do so now -- so in some ways it’s a bit disingenuous to be complaining now that they’re doing it. ... [Moore] is betting that more wins in the next two years will lead to more wins in the following seasons, or at least buy more time for another run. In that way, it is a quick fix for a man who until now has abhorred such moves.
But it’s also the case that the Royals could lose this trade if Myers turns into the second coming of Ben Grieve and is out of the league before he’s 30. They lose it if what they wanted -- that playoff spot -- doesn’t come to fruition.