Moving on from Myers


February 21, 2013; Port Charlotte, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays outfleder WIl Myers (60) poses for a picture during photo day at Charlotte Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Remember Wil Myers? Of course you do. For some of you, it’s still an open wound. You’re still heartbroken. He’s like that old girlfriend/boyfriend you always wonder about (is he the one that got away?). And with all the spring training battles coming to an end, it’s easy to let your mind wander and wonder again.

KC fans loved him. Some still aren’t sold on “the trade.” And…I guess with good reason, to a degree. He was the best Royals prospect. He’s still highly rated by Baseball America and just about every other prospect ranking website/magazine guru out there. If you Google Wil Myers, you’ll see links that contain phrases like “No. 1 fantasy prospect” or “Wil Myers tops fantasy baseball 2013 rookies.” You’ll see (off to the right of your screen) a heading that says “People also search for,” which is followed by the names Jake Odorizzi, James Shields, Wade Davis, and Mike Montgomery.

So yes…Myers is still a name that KC fans think about and the Royals are still somewhat connected to their former future star. But should we care? Isn’t it time to move on? This isn’t a movie…we aren’t Martin Blank, going back to our ten-year high school reunion to rekindle something with Debi Newberry (Grosse Point Blank reference if you are too lame to get it). Wil Myers is gone for good. There is no future. No reunion. No rekindling.

March 6, 2013; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher James Shields (33) throws in the first inning during a spring training game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Lucky for Royals fans, though, we did get something nice in return to help us move on. Shields is the ace of a revamped pitching rotation, while Davis gets his shot at starting again now that he’s out of Tampa. Both are key figures in the Royals attempt to compete in 2013. Both are important to KC’s hopeful return to relevance.

We can argue and ask “what if” all day long. What if Myers was in right field instead of Jeff Francoeur? What if Myers becomes a perennial All-Star? What would our lineup be like with Myers hitting .290 with 30 home runs? Well…what if? What if he did in fact do all that for the Royals, but the rotation still featured underwhelming pitchers like Luke Hochevar, Bruce Chen, and (insert name of just about any pitcher from the last decade not named Zack Greinke here). What if we had kept Myers and kept this franchise on the same course? That’s the scenario that bothers me. Not “What if Myers is a stud?” but “What if this team never went for it?”

It’s time to move on. Let’s not worry about Wil anymore. That ship has sailed. Let’s concentrate on the guys we still have, and the guys we’ve brought on board this offseason. There is a lot to like about the current roster. If you believe in WAR (and I do), Fangraphs had Alex Gordon as the sixth most valuable position player in the American League last season. Billy Butler was an All-Star (a REAL All-Star) and won the Silver Slugger. Of course there is a lot to like about guys like Mike Moustakas, Salvador Perez, Alcides Escobar, Eric Hosmer, and Lorenzo Cain. And I’ve already mentioned the revamped pitching rotation.

And the river of prospects hasn’t exactly dried up. We’ve still got Kyle Zimmer, Yordano Ventura, Bubba Starling, Adalberto Mondesi, and so on. I’ve wondered for a while now, “why can’t we win now AND build for the future simultaneously?” Well, it appears that’s exactly what’s happening in Kansas City.

So get over it. Breaking up is hard to do? Nah. It’s not like we just traded Jermaine Dye for Neifi Perez. If you love something set it free, right? Well, let’s “Free Willy” and be happy to have guys like James Shields suiting up in Royal Blue this year. This trade is already a “win” in my opinion. What Myers does in the future won’t sway my thinking…it won’t become a bigger win, nor will it turn into a loss. It was a perfectly fine trade that helped both teams. I don’t care if Myers fails or succeeds. If he does hit .290 with 30 homers, more power to him. If he doesn’t become an All-Star, well…that’s fine, too. It doesn’t matter to me anymore. You have to give something to get something, right? That’s what this trade was – two teams giving value for value. Now let’s focus on the Royals and let the Rays fans worry about Wil.

Opening Day is just around the corner, and there is some real enthusiasm surrounding this team. Maybe when September rolls around and the scoreboard commands us to “Make Some Noise” there will be some actual excitement behind the screams. Maybe there will actually be something on the line for the first time in a very long time. If this team gets on the right track in 2013, Myers will be a footnote in Royals history. The next generation of fans will ask, “Wil who?”