The Tampa Bay Rays have traded James Shields and Wade Davis to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for the bat they have been in need of in top prospect Wil Myers while also adding even more prospects and pitching depth in Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery, and Patrick Leonard.
Wil Myers, my number two position prospect in all of baseball behind Jurickson Profar, has Evan Longoria‘s ceiling with the bat while adding a plus arm and above-average range in right field. Like Longoria, he will strike out, but he also has the potential to be a perennial 30+ homerun hitter with the chance to hit .300.
Wil Myers could start the year as Tampa Bay’s starting right fielder and be the front-runner for the American League Rookie of the Year award or the Rays could give him more seasoning in AAA, possibly in center field, and move his arbitration clock back a bit. The Rays usually lean towards the latter but with a championship in sight for 2013 I think Myers could be starting the year with the Rays’ parent club.
Jake Odorizzi is a big-league-ready arm that has some of the smoothest mechanics you will see in a young pitcher. He repeats his delivery well and has a four-pitch mix that includes an above-average fastball, curveball, and change-up to go with above-average command and control. He has a solid frame that can eat a lot of innings and looks every part of a solid number three starter. The Rays, who still have a dearth of starting pitching, can afford to let him pitch in AAA if they do not deal any more starters.
Mike Montgomery was the Royals’ top pitching prospect for a few years before taking a step backwards in 2012. He had a hard time missing bats with his good stuff and has not done well above AA in any of his stints. He still has his good stuff and a lefty with his stuff is not someone you give up on. If the Rays can make a few positive adjustments he could be on his way back to being a legit big-league rotation candidate or the Rays could try and make him their next Jake McGee.
Patrick Leonard is a great low-level prospect to take a gamble on. He has excellent power and showed it in games with a .243 ISO as a 19-year old in Rookie Ball and also showed excellent patience with an 11.2% walk rate. He could be an above-average defender at third and John Sickels of minorleagueball.com called him a potential breakout candidate for 2013.
The Royals did give up the farm but they did get some solid big league talent in return.
James Shields is a legitimate top-of-the-rotation pitcher; don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. Shields is one of the best workhorses in the game and his 1330 innings pitched since 2007 ranks fifth in baseball behind only C.C. Sabathia, Justin Verlander, Roy Halladay, and Felix Hernandez. Shields’ 23.4 fWAR ranks 13th in baseball among pitchers since 2007. Shields’ 3.56 xFIP since 2007 (min 1000 IP) is 10th best in baseball.
Shields also possesses one of the best change-ups in the game. Since 2007, Shields’ first full season, his change-up (wCH) ranks second in baseball at +83.8 runs. Shields also limits the walks while striking out a high percentage of batters. His 5.5% walk rate since 2007 is fifth best in the game and his strikeout rate has increased three straight seasons and, at 22.5% since 2010, ranks 17th in baseball.
The Royals also receive Wade Davis who could be a workhorse at the back-end of the rotation or they could leave him in the pen where his stuff played up to the tune of the third best strikeout percentage in that game (minimum 70 innings) at 30.6%, behind only Aroldis Chapman and Jason Motte. His fastball registered in at a career best 93.5 mph and his slider was also at its best at 89.4 mph, more than 3 mph above his career average.
The Royals turn from a bad team to a mediocre one as they improve their pitching at the cost of depleting their farm system.
Meanwhile, the Rays, who do take a hit to the pitching staff, still remain a contender, shed a minimum of 13.3M from their 2013 payroll and potentially over to $50M total if all options are picked up from Shields and Davis’ contracts, and vastly improve their farm system.
Andrew Friedman continues to do Andrew Freidman things while Dayton Moore continues to do Dayton Moore things.
This tweet by Keith Law sums this trade up:
One final thought before I sign off: Talked to a bunch of scouts/FO folks tonight. Every last one of them said the Rays came out way ahead.
— keithlaw (@keithlaw) December 10, 2012
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis Tagged: | Andrew Friedman, Dayton Moore, Evan Longoria, Jake Odorizzi, James Shields, Kansas City Royals, Mike Montgomery, Patrick Leonard, Prospects, Tampa Bay Rays, Trades, Wade Davis, Wil Myers