After a week of percolating, it appears that the Tampa Bay Rays and Kansas City Royals are close to a trade involving James Shields and Wil Myers, among others. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times broke the early workings of the trade on Twitter, which was also confirmed by several insiders including Ken Rosenthal.
The Royals made the deal official via their Twitter account, and oh boy… it’s a big one:
#Royals acquire RHPs James Shields, Wade Davis and player to be named or cash from Tampa Bay for Myers, Odorizzi, Montgomery and Leonard.
— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) December 10, 2012
Myers and Jake Odorizzi represent two of the Royals top prospects, with the former being one of the most highly regarded in all of baseball. Odorizzi started two games for the Royals late last season, to mostly underwhelming results, but dominated at Double-A by striking out nearly 31% of batters faced before making 18 starts at Triple-A Omaha. Myers, though, is the prize here. The 22-year old brutalized Double-A pitching to the tune of .351/.421/.739 and 13 home runs in 35 games last season. Myers totalled 439 plate appearances at Triple-A, hitting .304/.378/.544 with 24 home runs.
Mike Montgomery, a former first round pick, has struggled on the mound at Triple-A over the last two seasons. Patrick Leonard spent 2012 playing rookie ball with Burlington of the Appalachian League.
In Shields, the Royals have acquired the best arm the organization will have known since Zack Greinke left. The right-hander has thrown 200+ innings in each of the last six seasons, piling up a league leading 11 complete games in 2011. Shields made 33 starts last season, finishing with a 3.52 ERA, 3.47 FIP, and 3.24 xFIP. He struck out 223 batter in 227.2 innings. Also joining Shields in Kansas City is Wade Davis, who transitioned to a bullpen role with the Rays in 2012.
It’s a huge pay by the Royals, but this is a club that has struggled to attract top tier pitching via free agency. The Royals will assume club options on Shields through 2014, which could effectively put them into resale mode in a year or two if the team doesn’t begin to climb the American League Central standings. Myers is an impressive get by the Rays here, risk of bust be damned. Suave work by Andrew Friedman here to work Odorizzi into the deal as well.
We shall see if selling the farm pays of for Dayton Moore and co. in Kansas City.