On the Royals and Rays Trade and What It Means for Detroit

We’ve all been hearing rumors about it for weeks, but last night, as we were all settling down for the night, dreaming of another week at the daily grind without the distraction of a baseball game to use as a distraction from our most intrinsic fears, the Royals and Rays finally treated us to the magnificent feast we were all hoping would come to fruition.

James Shields was traded for Wil Myers.

Along for the ride to Kansas City is Wade Davis, a replacement level starter and decent reliever, and a player to be named or cash. To Tampa go three more prospects, Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery, and Patrick Leonard.

The internet is, of course, beside themselves with delight. Dayton Moore, the Kansas City GM, is still a nincompoop, and Andrew Friedman is a wall street genius who has never made a bad deal in his life. It smells like a deal for the Rays, it smells like a rip-off for the Royals. It smells like it fits the pedigree of what we are all accustomed too.

Don’t get me wrong, in terms of financial commitments, the Rays got rid of two expensive commodities for next to nothing. The Rays don’t have any money, in relation to professional baseball teams, and so this is a good thing for them to do.

Secondly, the Rays had a position overflowing with talent, if that can really exist, and they sent some of that talent away for what they needed; an impact bat to slide behind their third baseman who has committed his talents to Tampa, Florida, or wherever they end up, through the end of 2023. That’s two good things for the Rays.

Thirdly, the Rays added a 22 year old top flight pitching prospect, a 23 year old former top flight prospect, and a 20 year old infielder who just posted an .833 OPS in his first year in pro ball. All for the cost of one expensive innings eater and one reliever who is paid like a starter.

For the Rays, why wouldn’t they make this trade?

And since the excess of cheap, controlled, good talent is going to Florida, the Royals and their balderdash have to be the suckers in this shindig.

They traded away an impact bat in Wil Myers, a guy who would have solidified right field for at least the next half decade. Pair him with the talent at each of the other corner positions, the Royals were looking at a strong offensive core for a while.  But it is pitching that they needed. Last Opening Day the Royals threw out Bruce Chen, a guy who is a nice pitcher if you have four better ones, and Luke Hochaver, a guy who could be a starting pitcher….in Houston.

Last year, they lost 90 games. They won 72. Their starting pitcher ERA sat at 5.01. This leads many to believe most of their problems were in starting pitching. They had a good offense, they even had a good bullpen, but it was starting pitching that they couldn’t compete with. So Dayton Moore had to act. He resigned Jeremy Guthrie, he traded for Ervin Santana. And now he went and got James Shields.

Dayton Moore may not be the world’s smartest GM, but he did just address his biggest issue of his 2012 season. He had to give up way too much to get his man, but when Zach Grienke is getting $25m a year on the open market and the next best thing is Anibal Sanchez, what do you really think is going to happen?

Andrew Friedman didn’t rip him off because he’s some secret genius, he ripped him off because he knew Moore NEEDED James Shields and he knew what James Shields was worth. So he waited and waited and waited until Moore gave him what he wanted.

By that logic, the trade was simply a byproduct of two teams, one who is in a good position to deal players, and one who is not.

But I don’t think it’s as simple as that and I don’t think anyone can say they know better.

The Tigers know this more than anyone. They’ve traded away the best talent in their organization for years. Cam Maybin, Andrew Miller, Jacob Turner all top that list. The Tigers know better than anyone that you have to give up minor league talent to get proven talent, and in a day and age where people love prospects more than players on the big league team, they are constantly criticized for it. Obviously it’s worked out well and the Tigers fans can now appreciate Miguel Cabrera and Co and don’t have a lot of justification for criticizing the organization that has played pretty decent ball since 2006.

This might be why this move by the Royals scares them. Whether it is justified or not, it’s a move they would make.

While I’m not ready to admit that the Royals know what they’re doing (their track record suggests they’ll screw something up somewhere), they did improve themselves from where they were a year ago. They may have lost 90 games in 2012, but they are in a better position now to lose less than that in 2013. That’s why the Tigers don’t like it, and they shouldn’t. The Royals will be harder to beat in 2013 than they were in 2012.

But I’m not going to sit here and say they wouldn’t be in a better position to win more games this year if Wil Myers was raking in that lineup either. For Detroit, this trade means nothing.

  • Wingnut19

    you sorta contradict yourself in your column, which makes you sound like a homer. It’s a good deal. If the Tigers had made that deal (a la Sanchez and Infante), you would have loved it. I’m a Tigers fan, but I can even admit it was an improvement for KC. Prospects are just that… prospects. How many prospects have the Tigers traded away that have failed to meet expectations. It’s simply a comparison of what you’ve got to what you might have. In this case, I think both teams did well. Of course, we’ll see in a few years how these “prospects” come through and that might change our opinion of the trade. Whatever the case, I still think the Tigers are the class of the division. I see 90-95 wins. The Royals aren’t at that level yet, and the Sox are the biggest potential to derail the “Three-peat” of the Central.

  • louwhitaker

    “The Royals will be harder to beat in 2013 than they were in 2012.” But wouldn’t that also have been the case if they simply had held on to Wil Myers and had him in the lineup instead of Francoeur, who gets on base less often than Hawk Harrelson says something intelligent?

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