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The Kansas City Royals Did Not Lose The Trade

The Kansas City Royals trounced the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday. We got to watch Wil Myers play. Which brings up the one thing that will always be associated with Myers to baseball fans and especially KC baseball fans. The trade.

JamesShields

The common wisdom about the James Shields for Wil Myers trade was that The Royals were making a huge mistake. Without any of the players yet to have played for their new teams, it was deemed a failure for Kansas City. It was also immediately speculated that the only reason Dayton Moore even made the trade was to save his job by throwing away the future to squeak out a .500 season.

Here is a Yahoo Sports article that came out immediately after the trade that heralded it as a failure for The Royals. Now I also cringed when the trade was made. More for what Myers could be plus I had to watch Jeff Francoeur start another season (without realizing at the time the blessing of his release was in the future). I remember before the trade saying that if they were to do it, Matt Moore better be in the package. But as we all know now he wasn’t. It was James Shields with Wade Davis thrown in.

So now as we’re over three-fourths of the way through the season, with only a little over a month  left, I wanted to look at what has transpired and what is possible for the rest of the season. While looking over the evidence it occurred to me, so far this trade hasn’t been that bad for the Royals. I want to use the doom and gloom of the Yahoo article to compare to what has happened and to come to this conclusion:

It may turn out to be a good trade for the Royals for these reasons:

Wil Myers is not Mike Trout (yet)

Myers hit .314/.387/.600 with 37 homers with 140 strikeouts in 591 plate appearances at Class AA and AAA. He’s a blue chip prospect who turns 22 on Monday. Myers might turn into Ryan Braun. He also might turn into Josh Willingham, which would be OK for the Rays. Or he possibly could flame out like Joe Charboneau. If he’s like Braun, Royals fans will rue his loss for 20 years. And then into eternity after he retires.  – Yahoo

And yes that is all true. All of those different random things could happen, but none of it has happened yet. Including this year, Myers first full year in baseball. Can you imagine the pain we would have felt if he did what Trout or even Harper did last year? Of course rookie years mean nothing, as even Ken Griffey Jr had a rough rookie year. But at least he has not torn the league apart yet like those guys have. This year he is hitting .302/.356/.472 with 9 homeruns. Many players on The Royals are trumping that.

Not only is he not better than Trout or Harper, he’s barely better than Lough

Francoeur was the obvious replacement player for Myers. But since baseball is a beautiful game, David Lough has stepped up and surprised everyone in right field. With Myers’ aforementioned slash, he has a WAR of 2.o. Lough, comparably, has a WAR of 1.8 regardless of his weaker slash of .287/.307/.408. How is he doing it? With phenomenal defense. Those paying closer attention to the stats will see that with a strong final month of the season, Lough could steal the Rookie of the Year award away from Myers. How good will that feel to KC?

Plus, with Lough being a rookie, who’s to say he can’t continue to improve and put up a career comparable to Myers?

The Underrated James Shields

Shields has pitched 14 complete games, has six shutouts and has 448 strikeouts over the past two seasons. That’s all great, but his career 3.89 ERA is barely above-average in quality, and he’s logged 1,454 2/3 innings, which is a little concerning. He’s not as good as David Price, and he probably won’t be as good as Matt Moore going forward. The Royals are getting the Rays’ third-best pitcher.  –Yahoo

I don’t care his record is 8-8. I don’t care his ERA is a respectable 3.22. I don’t care his WHIP is a respectable 1.27. What I care about is he is an innings machine and has done this over 181 innings. Which is why his WAR is 2.9. I don’t get why this is hard for people like the author of the Yahoo article to understand. It’s like when you do cardio at the gym. You can get your heart rate up to 160 for 10 minutes. That’s good and all, but if you can sustain a lesser 140 heart rate for 40 minutes, you are getting a better workout. His WAR in 2012 was 3.9. 2011 was 4.5.

Shields is the 140 heart rate for 40 minutes pitcher. And yes, he is an ace.

Shields May Re-Sign

Though he is due $9 million in 2013 and a $12 million team option in ’14 — very reasonable — Shields will be a free agent after that and the Royals are a small-market team, if you hadn’t heard. If they are to make use of his skills and what he represents, they’ll have to make the playoffs in the next two seasons. They have not done so since 1985. Kansas City has finished with one winning record this millennium, in 2003.  –Yahoo

The Yahoo article contradicts itself. It warns to be careful of decline from Shields because of the amount of innings under his belt, but claims he is entitled to a large contract in spite of his innings count. Regardless, I consider Shields to be about the same level as Gil Meche when he signed with KC. Shields seems to be happy in KC and has made comments about resigning.

So on the surface, The Royals get him for 2 years. But this can be like McGwire trade for The Cards. Where it was for a few months, but turned into the rest of his career. Don’t take the Shields-for-two-years talk as gospel. He could easily be a Royal in 2015. Especially if they keep winning.

The Royals need a .500 season

Everything about that sentence kills me. It’s not the way I look at the game. You either win or you don’t. You either make the playoffs or not. But since The Royals haven’t been .500 in ten years and haven’t made the playoffs since 1985, this may be the exception to the rule (along with The Pirates).

The Royals are a black hole of signing players. It’s been widely reported that they are one of the teams players just don’t want to go to. A big reason is their history of losing. A .500 season, as this year may bring, would be good for both the fans and the future. And may be worth bringing Shields in alone.

Davis is not as bad as everyone says.  Odorizzi, on the other hand…

But funnily enough, you just hear people complain about Davis. Yes Davis is just okay. 6-10 with a 5.67 era. But the amount of innings he’s thrown is impressive. His FIP is much lower though. Opponents BABIP is ridiculously high against him to the point where it should be taken with a grain of salt as an outlier. And his WAR is still 1.5.

Odorizzi however, for The Rays, has an era of 6.00, a WHIP of 1.44 and has generally been crushed. Yet the media just talks about Davis.

The Royals Need To Win Games, Not The Trade

Even if Myers takes off, Lough regresses and Shields leave The Royals, it doesn’t matter if the The Royals can end over .500 and do something next year. Kansas City needs a shot at the playoffs. The Royals need a World Series. Myers could be the next Ted Williams. The Royals could have let the next Williams go. But keep in mind, Ted Williams never won a World Series. But with Shields and the talent shown in the second half by The Royals, it could all be worth it next year.

Because prospects come and go, but flags fly forever. And the trade being a failure for The Royals is still just wild speculation.

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2 Responses to “The Kansas City Royals Did Not Lose The Trade”

  1. Phil says:

    There’s so much wrong with this.
    Myers is a top 10 prospect and most top 10 prospects turn into legit high caliber players, some become okay players, and very few flame out, although looking through BA prospects list some player failed because of injuries (e.g. Brien Taylor, who shredded his shoulder in a bar fight and was never the same) or shouldn’t have been a top 10 prospect in the first place (e.g. Drew Henson). Also many Royals player are not “trumping” Myers’ numbers. Only Butler has a higher OPS and OBP over Myers and no one has a better slug. % than him.

    Just because Lough is a rookie doesn’t automatically mean he’ll get better. He’s already 27 and has been struggling the last two months. We might have already seen the best of him.

    I would say Shields is better than Moore, but Moore is under club control until 2020 and he doesn’t make more than 5 million until 2017 and then it’s only 7 mil, 9 mil, and 10 mil. That’s a pretty team friendly contract. On the other hand Wade Davis’ contract, but I’ll get to that in a second.

    Shields’ contract isn’t bad, but he’s probably going to get CJ Wilson money when he’s a FA. If we do resign him, that’s going to eat up money that could go to other free agents inside and outside of the organization.

    Players are driven by money. Saying we need to be a .500 club is nonsense. The only reason we didn’t sign Ryan Dempster is because we weren’t willing to give him a three year deal or an extra 2.5 million dollars to sign him to a two year deal.

    You bring up Davis and his FIP, but not with Odorizzi. Odorizzi is probably a victim of SSS, or small sample size. Odorizzi is doing much better in the minors this year over last year. Also Odorizzi is 23 and Davis is 27. Odorizzi got his ERA to 5.09 today. Davis does have a historically bad BABIP, but he also been hit really hard this season. He has a career high in line drives and ground balls being hit, which is part of the reason his BABIP is so high. Now lets talk about Davis’ contract. He makes 2.8 mil this year and 4.5 mil next year, but he starts to get really expensive for a guy who is a reliever or a bad starter, and has a 2.5 million dollar buyout. So we might have paid 10 million dollars for two years of crap. Odorizzi is cheap.

    The whole Ted Williams thing is just dumb.

    • Paul Hibbard says:

      1) I don’t think Myers is going to flame out. I agreed with the Yahoo article that anything could theoretically happen, but I think he’ll be at least decent. But I don’t know. Also I kind of hope you are kidding by saying top ten prospects never flame out.

      Butler does have a higher OPS. Hosmer is basically neck and neck with Myers. At the time I wrote the article he was higher. I see now Myers surpassed him. Regardless, Hosmer has done it with almost 300 more at bats

      2) I agree there is no guarantee about Lough, as there’s no guarantee about any player on any team in any sport. Including Myers.

      3) I 100% agree I would rather have Moore than Shields and am 100% confused why you think I said otherwise. I said the opposite. But I analyzed the trade with Shields for Myers, not because I wanted him more than Moore, but because that’s who The Royals got.

      4) Players are driven by money for the most part. But as I addressed in the article, The Royals are a team that players especially are not excited to play for because of their losing history. A .500 season would help them

      5) I’ll concede the sample is probably too small for Odorizzi in the majors and his contract is better. I still think he’ll be a mid rotation starter at best.

      6) I’m sorry you don’t like the Ted Williams reference. I think it’s funny

      Thanks for reading though

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