Photos by Minda Haas

Royals Trade Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery to Tampa for James Shields, Wade Davis

A tweet by Ken Rosenthal confirming a previous report by Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times indicates that the Royals and Rays have agreed to a deal that will send pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis a player to be named later and cash to the Royals for their top prospect outfielder Wil Myers and pitchers Mike Montgomery, Jake Odorizzi and minor league infielder Patrick Leonard. The move was reported by the Royals on Twitter.

The Royals were clearly after James Shields during the winter meetings and when the Dodgers signed Zack Greinke, it opened up the need for the Royals to go after getting the deal done.

My initial reaction? To get Shields, who isn’t a true ace, and Davis, who was moved to the bullpen last year, still improves the Royals rotation in 2013, but at a steep price. Mike Montgomery hadn’t put it together in Triple A, but the velocity and left-handedness give him an opportunity for a new start in Tampa and they could reinvigorate him. He never seemed a fit for the Royals training approach, and, as Jason Parks said on the Kansas City Baseball Vault, the Rays like to throw. Montgomery is a long-toss guy, so that regimen fits him. Odorizzi in the deal is confusing, as he seemed like he had a shot to be in the rotation next year at some point.

Myers, though, is the key, and most think he can be a perennial star hitter. He’s not Mike Trout or Bryce Harper, but some have compared him to Ryan Braun with his ability to make contact and hit for power.

Obviously, this is a big deal and the Royals are going for it in 2013 and 2014, but my initial reaction – this team better make a wild card spot or win the division the next two years or it’s a big loss.

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Tags: James Shields Kansas City Royals Wil Myers

  • jimfetterolf

    It’s a risk. Shields is a solid #1, on the edge of ace with the innings he eats, so a major upgrade. Wade Davis had interesting numbers last year, has four pitches, so has possibilities. We’ll know in a couple of years.

    • chrisHannum

      If Shields is no ace, neither is Zack Greinke.

      • jimfetterolf

        Matter of definitions. I figure ace at one of the top fifteen qualified on fangraphs and #1 as top 30. Shields came in ahead of Matt Cain and Matt Harrison and Anibal Sanchez at 18, Zack was rated 7. Shields has an edge based on innings, a stat I think important. Not sure there’s a hard and fast definition.

  • John Verburg

    Truthfully, this deal is going to hinge on Montgomery in my opinion. If the Rays resurrect him, then the Royals lose. If they don’t, then it looks to be a fair deal. Odorrizi seems to me like a Wade Davis, so that’s a wash, and they desperately needed someone like Shields. Still a bit shy of the Tigers rotation though

    • Michael Engel

      I see it as a question of how real is Wil Myers vs. how close are the Royals, really? You CAN win with a very good pitcher and four decently average guys, but the offense will have to be there. KC puts their same offense from 2012 on the field next year, hoping for improvements from Hosmer/Moose and a full year from Sal and some kind of Frenchy averaging out and yeah, maybe it’s enough.

      Just afraid that it’s not and that in 2015, it’s gonna look pretty silly. Also the Monty point is a big part of this deal, not only because he’s a former two-time #1 prospect in the organization but because if he does develop with the Rays, it points out a HUGE problem with the Royals pitching development.

      • Eric Akers

        Not just improvement from Hos and Moose, but a full year of Cain and Perez. The Royals will look silly in the long term no matter what in this deal,if only looked at from the vantage point of several years from now, just because the rewards for us are all short term. How bad depends on how fast they develop. Could the Royals have waited for those guys to reach their potential and succeed with our current core?

        I find myself looking forward to a rotation of Shields, Duffy, Guthrie, Paulino, and Santana/Davis for 2nd half of 2013 and possibly add in Lamb or Zimmer in 2014.

        As for RF, I think they have to platoon Frenchy. I don’t really see them getting a different RFer from FA or trade.

        • Michael Engel

          There’s been some talk they may go after some cheap outfielder looking to rebuild value to split some time. I have no idea who would fit that well yet. They don’t have a lot of room to pay someone. Greg Schaum mentioned Domonic Brown from the Phillies, who’s never really gotten it going over there. Interesting buy-low guy there if they’re willing to cut bait on him for relatively cheap.

        • chrisHannum

          Nah, they won’t look silly in the long run “no matter what”. They’ll look silly in the long run if Myers & Odorizzi (and the other two, but you know) turn out to be very good major leaguers. If – in 2014/2015 they look like Luke Hochevar and Matt LaPorta – nobody will be complaining about the Royals “short term focus”.

      • jimfetterolf

        “Just afraid that it’s not and that in 2015, it’s gonna look pretty silly.”

        There will be a whole new wave by then. Unless Wil Myers becomes Mike Trout I doubt he will even be remembered much. What may be remembered is that Shields built the bridge between the existing position players and the new and rehabbing young arms as the team moved into sustainable contention.

        • Michael Engel

          You don’t think that the majority of Royals fans aren’t going to keep track of what Myers is doing and, if he’s successful, that they won’t lament trading him? They still keep tabs on Carlos Beltran, still talk about Johnny Damon, still mention David DeJesus on occasion even. Heck, even JP Howell was missed. Myers doesn’t have to be Trout to be missed.

          • jimfetterolf

            I wouldn’t use the word “majority” in the conversation. If you polled the attendance at an average Royals’ game, I doubt half would even know that Betran was ever a Royal. Americans have very short memories on those things, as our economics and politics reminds.

            “Myers doesn’t have to be Trout to be missed.”

            By the time Myers becomes Alex Gordon all the attention will be on Mondezi, Bonafacio, Cuthbert, and/or Starling, and Odorizzi will lost in the fog behind some number of the rehab guys, Ventura, Adam, Zimmer, Selman, and Smith. Shields will be traded or gone, as will Guthrie and Santana, and the Process will be in the final stage of being a sustainable contender.

            We’re not in the position of trading Billy or Alex or even Clint Hurdle after a great minor-league career, we’re trading from a deep minor-league system that has already graduated Perez, Moose, Hosmer, and the bullpen with Escobar and Cain picked up cheap. No guarantees on anyone, of course, but by the time Myers is promoted, the new rotation will be the center of attention and Hochevar will be the 7th inning setup man if not traded first. Regular fans I know seem to like the trade and I expect real nice attendance the first series, which will make the finances more sustainable.

          • Michael Engel

            Well you don’t have to use the word majority, but I am. Enough Royals fans don’t just check in halfway and after the coverage this trade’s gotten, they’ll be watching. People still remember trading off David Cone, and that’s not just in the blogger/twitter world, that’s general fans. Often the first thing I hear when I meet someone who learns I’m a Royals fan, they mention Damon at the very least.

            Myers can be Alex Gordon with the bat this year. Guys you’re mentioning are going to be relevant to the big league team in 2015 at the very earliest. I think you’re discounting Myers too much because of past failures. Each prospect is their own person. Gordon struggled, but look at Billy. Hosmer had a great first year, bad second one,but look at Sal. Talent usually finds its way and if it’s player of the year caliber talent, it can do so right away. There’s not one level of the minors where Myers wasn’t one of the top offensive players in his league – Rookie, High A, Low A, Double A, Triple A. I get the impression (and maybe I’m misinterpreting the “by the time Myers is promoted” phrase) that you’re expecting Myers to be called up this September. I’m guessing at the Evan Longoria treatment – he’ll be down just long enough for them to get the extra year of service time out of him and it’s not improbably that they try a similar kind of contract extension right away so they don’t have to worry about Super Two status.

            if Shields is who he’s been the last two years and adjusts to the K over the Trop, and the Royals can make the playoffs, fantastic, but I think we gave up an All-Star to get there. And I’m just not sold that Shields is enough to get us there, so it’s 90% in my mind that in two years the team may not be that much better off. I’d enjoy being wrong, though.

          • jimfetterolf

            “Myers can be Alex Gordon with the bat this year.”

            Then you are comping him with Trout or Harper. Alex didn’t really become Alex until Seitzer retooled his swing and approach before ’11.

            “Each prospect is their own person.”

            Absolutely, but we’ve had a lot of Saviors the last several years and had less than a full year of excellence from two of them, Hos and Salvy. It’s possible Myers is great, but he won’t have much impact this year.

            “I think we gave up an All-Star to get there.”


            “And I’m just not sold that Shields is enough to get us there”

            It’s not on Shields alone, just as it wouldn’t be on Myers alone. Shields and Davis are both improvements over last year’s rotation, so that’s two pieces. Santana and Guthrie may be improvements over Teaford and Will Smith and Luke Hochevar, too soon to tell. Hos and Moose may have good years, they may turn out to be busts, same for Giavotella. Perez and Cain and Getz may stay healthy. All the usual variables in play on this one, but Dayton Moore assumed the best and made the trade that would take the team to 88 wins, just as he set the table for last year when, barring injuries, he had an 81 win team. And he didn’t even have to go “all-in” for it, still plenty of depth that will allow Santana to be traded at the ASB and Shields and Guthrie moved next winter or the ASB after it. The Royals have, I think, a good hand.

            I would rather have signed Greinke and Sanchez than traded Myers, since both could have big trade value after a couple of years, but top FAs don’t want KC. And I wouldn’t have signed the contract the Dodgers gave Greinke, they got seriously screwed on the opt-out clauses.

            We’re all guessing, but I’m looking forward to next year, quite optimistic in fact. Real pitchers, real catchers, well ahead of the first half of last year.