Tag Archive | "Ace"

Examining the Royals’ rest of season schedule

The end of the season is drawing closer and closer and the playoff race is heating up in the American League. The Kansas City Royals, despite dropping two of three games in Detroit, still have hopes of catching one of the two wild card spots.


Kansas City currently sits 3.5 games behind the Rays and the Rangers who are both 81-67 and would be the two wild card teams if the season ended today.

The problem for the Royals is they would have to pass four teams in order to make the postseason. The Indians are just 0.5 games out of the wild card, while the Orioles are 2.5 and the Yankees are 3.0. The Royals have 13 games remaining and need to get hot quickly. Let’s take a look at the Royals’ remaining schedule:

3-game home set with the Indians starting Monday
This is a big opportunity for the Royals to make up games in the standings. Kansas City is 7-9 on the season against the Indians, but they took two of three at the Tribe a week ago. The Royals will have ace James Shields on the mound to open the three-game set, going up against lefty Scott Kazmir of the Indians. Shields beat Kazmir back on September 11 in Cleveland.

3-game home set with Rangers starting 9/20
This is another chance for the Royals to make up ground in the wild card race. Texas has struggled in September after leading the AL west for a large portion of the year. The Royals are just 1-2 against Texas this year, after losing a series back in early June.

3-game set at the Mariners starting 9/23
The Royals are 3-1 this year against Seattle after taking three of four in a home series with the Mariners back in the first week of September. All four games in that series were deciding by two runs or less, so this should be a challenging series for the Royals in a time where they need to pick up victories.

4-game set at the White Sox starting 9/26
The Royals close the season in Chicago facing the last-place White Sox. This could be a dangerous series as the White Sox have little to play for except for spoiling the Royals’ season. Chicago actually leads this season series 8-7, but the two teams haven’t met since the end of July.

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Here Comes Duffy

The Kansas City Royals were poised to make it “Our Time” in 2012 before star pitcher Danny Duffy found his way to Tommy John surgery.  The 2013 Royals, who are now four games back of both the division and the wild card, have suddenly taken on a successful feel.  Danny Duffy is set to return.

Photo Courtesy of Minda Haas

Photo Courtesy of Minda Haas

May 13, 2012 would be the most recent time that Danny Duffy, once believed to be the future ace of the ballclub, would take the mound as a Kansas City Royal.  Not long after that, it was determined that Duffy would require “Tommy John” surgery and his season plus most of the next one, would be lost.

Duffy would begin the long process of recovery.  Physical therapy would lead to soft tossing a ball.  Eventually, playing catch on level ground and long toss would assist the young lefty in building up the strength that he needed to get back on the mound.  On May 26, 2013, just over a year since his last pitch, he would throw his first one in a AA rehab assignment with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals.  The initial outings were short but productive, seeing Duffy rack up 15 strikeouts in his first three appearances, spanning just 10 innings, while only walking four.  He would allow 12 hits but would limit his early opponents to five earned-runs.  He was on his way to AAA Omaha to continue his work with the Stormchasers.

Success was moderate but noticeable as he continued his walk back to the majors.  His second appearance in Omaha on June 10 would be his worst yet, yielding seven runs on seven hits and two walks without striking out a batter.  He would only last two-and-one-third of an inning and many started to wonder if he was rushing back.  His next start would only last three innings, allowing two runs on four hits and three walks, though he would strike out five this time around.  Concerns began to mount.

Concerns were laid to rest shortly thereafter as Duffy proved that those two outings would be the shortest of his season, never failing to reach five innings again through his next eight starts.  He would never walk more than three batters the rest of the season, strike out fewer than four hitters only one time, and never yield more than four runs, which he only did twice.  His season reached a pinnacle as he made one more rehab start at AA on July 17.  That day, Duffy would last five-and-one-third of an inning, striking out a season best 13 batters and walking only one.

Duffy would return to AAA to make two more starts, both impressive, and seemingly rounded out his minor league stint for 2013.

Duffy’s season thus far has given seen him surrender seven home runs, walk 27, strikeout 77, surrender 59 hits and allow opposing batters to hit .250 against him over 64 innings pitched.

Tomorrow, August 7, 2013 is opening day for Danny Duffy.  He will return to the mound at Kauffman Stadium for the first time in almost 15 months.  He will take the ball as the starter for the Royals in the middle of a playoff run and look to solidify the rotation.

Duffy is back.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at i70baseball.
You can talk baseball with him on Twitter or read more of his St. Louis Cardinals analysis on Yahoo!.

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Early returns on the Shields trade

This off-season, the Royals wanted to shake things up and they were willing to ship off their top prospect to do so.


Desperate for proven Major League pitching, Kansas City swung a deal for two quality big league arms. On December 9 of last year, the Royals and the Tampa Bay Rays agreed on a deal that sent James Shields and Wade Davis to Kansas City in exchange for Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery and Patrick Leonard.

Shields and Davis immediately earned a spot in this year’s Royals starting rotation–Shields as the ace and Davis as the third/fourth starter.

Meanwhile, all four players acquired by Tampa Bay would start the 2013 season in the minors.

For Kansas City, this was a win-now move. They believed they had the talent to compete in the AL Central this year and some reliable starting pitching could put them over the top. The Rays, on the other hand, had enough starting pitching and talent on the big league team that they could let the four players acquired in the deal develop in the minors.

It is never too early to examine a big trade like this so let’s dig in and examine how the trade has worked out so far for both teams.

The Royals Righties

Shields has pitched like an ace, though he doesn’t have the record to show for it. After 11 starts, the big right-hander is 2-6 with a sparkling 2.96 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. The Royals haven’t scored many runs for Shields, giving him only 3.39 runs per start and the team is just 3-8 overall in his starts.

On Monday, against a good Cardinals lineup, Shields gave up six runs over six innings, the first time all season he allowed more than four runs.

His numbers this season are consistent with those he compiled in Tampa Bay and his H/9, K/9, HR/9, ERA and WHIP are all better this year than the seven he spent with the Rays.

The only glaring difference is the win-loss record. In seven years with the Rays, Shields pitched to an 87-73 record. The Rays were a much more competitive team than the Royals are this year. As a means of comparison, the Rays gave Shields 4.57 runs of support per game in 2012.

Wade Davis has struggled so far this year, with a 5.71 ERA and a 1.86 WHIP. His record is 3-4 and the Royals are 6-4 in his starts. His numbers are considerably worse than Shields’, yet he has one more win, largely because he is backed by 5.22 runs per game from the offense.

Davis’ numbers are cause for concern for Royals’ fans. As compared to his four years with the Rays, his hits/9 innings has jumped from 8.6 to 12.6. His HR/9 and BB/9 have also increased considerably and his strikeout-to-walk ratio is significantly lower.

Struggling with his control, Davis has walked at least two batters in his last seven starts.

The Rays’ Haul

Wil Myers, the #4 prospect in baseball according to Baseball America, is starting to heat up at Triple-A Durham.

Myers started off the season relatively slowly, but in his past six games he is sporting a .393 average with 5 homeruns, 15 RBI, and a crazy 1.034 slugging percentage.

On Tuesday, Myers blasted two two-run homers, to help the Durham Bulls to a come-from behind win.

Overall, the highly-touted outfielder has a .266 average with 9 HR, 40 RBI and a .346 OBP and .473 slugging percentage.

Given his recent power surge, he may get a call-up from the Rays as soon as the Super Two deadline passes in mid-June.

Jake Odorizzi was recently promoted to the MLB club by the Rays. He started two games and ended up with two no-decisions.

On May 20 against Toronto, Odorizzi pitched five innings, allowing three runs and recording six strikeouts. On Monday against Miami he had a rougher outing, lasting only four innings, giving up six runs while striking out two.

The Rays sent Odorizzi back down to the minors on Wednesday. At Triple-A Durham, Odorizzi, Baseball America’s #92 prospect, has a 4-0 record with an ERA of 3.83 in eight starts. He has 47 strikeouts in 44.2 innings.

Mike Montgomery, a first-round pick by the Royals in the 2008 draft, has battled injuries early this season and, as a result, has made only three starts for Durham. The talented southpaw is 1-0 with a 5.27 ERA in 13.2 innings.
Patrick Leonard currently plays for the Bowling Green Hot Rods of the Midwest League. The infielder is batting .174 with just one homerun and 15 RBI in 43 games.

The Aftermath

There is no question that the Royals gave up an incredible amount of talent in this deal. Myers is one of the top hitting prospects in baseball. Odorizzi and Montgomery have considerable upside, which has left the Rays stacked with young pitching.

The Royals on the other hand are really struggling. The thinking was that the infusion of starting pitching would turn around a middling franchise. They expected the overhauled pitching staff to produce results immediately. They felt the AL Central or one of the two Wild Card spots was there for the taking. However, that optimism has quickly taken a turn for the worse. Kansas City is now 21-29 and has lost eight straight games.

It is still early in the season and things can quickly change for better or worse. The real effects of this trade may not sort out until a couple of years down the line. But the Royals believed this trade would bring instant results and, at this point, that just hasn’t been the case.

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No Shields Support

James Shields can’t buy a win.  A look at his last few starts highlights the problems that are plaguing the Royals.  Over his last 4 starts, Shields’ ERA is sitting at 2.48.  During this time, Shields has pitched 31 innings, walked only 5 batters and struck-out one shy of a batter per inning.  Fairly impressive numbers thus far in the month of May for the Royals newly acquired ace.  Despite his performance, James hasn’t won a game since April.  A lack of run support and a struggling bullpen is keeping the Royals from getting wins out of their best arm in the rotation.


Going back to the May 6th start against the struggling Chicago White Sox, Shields gave up just 2 hits, 2 walks and no runs while striking out 9.  The Royals scored off of a double by Butler in the first and that would be all that Shields would need, shutting the Sox down for 8 innings.  Holland would come in to close off the game in the 9th and give up a walk and 4 hits allowing the Sox to tie the game and send it to extra innings.  Two innings and one home run later, the Royals lose a very winnable game.

Shields’ next start was against the Yankees who would score first off of a throwing error by Moustakas in the 3rd.  The Royals answered back with a run in the top of the third and a solo home run by Butler in the 4th, but that would be it for the Royals offense for the day.  A 2 run shot by Vernon Wells in the 5th handed Shields another tough loss in yet another very close game.

May 17th sent the Royals to Oakland.  The Athletics sent the very hittable Jarrod Parker to the mound.  David Lough doubled in what would be the Royals only run of the game in the 3rd.  Shields carried a shutout into the 7th inning when he gave up a solo shot to Josh Donaldson and then another in the 8th to Adam Rosales.  Game over.

Shields got his next start against the last place Houston Astros.  He gave up a 2 run homer in the 1st to J.D. Martinez.  Despite going on to strike out 7 Astros in the game, the 2 run lead would be enough to carry Houston through the game.  The Royals scored once in the third.

The Royals acquired James Shields to do exactly what he has been doing, keeping the runs to a minimum.  They aren’t paying him to score runs, that’s something the rest of the team can and should be doing.  Scoring 5 runs in 4 games behind their ace isn’t going to cut it.  The Royals have to win these close games to contend.  That means not letting the bull pen give away the win and it means scoring more than once a game.

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Cardinals/Nationals: Three Things to Walk With

After a tough end to the weekend on Sunday night in Philadelphia, the Cardinals rebounded nicely a day later and haven’t let up yet. The club pulled off its first series sweep of the season against the Washington Nationals in DC, wrapping it up against their ace Stephen Strasburg on Wednesday afternoon. It was the club’s first return back to DC since the improbable end of their Division Series matchup in the city last October. All in all, the longest road trip of the season ended with an impressive 6-3 record, with one game lost to rain. And as the club returns back home a half game ahead in the NL Central, here are three things to take from tilt with the Nationals.

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1.Fear the Koz: Clearly Nationals fans have not forgotten the last time Pete Kozma made an appearance in their city. Kozma was routinely booed through the series each time he stepped to the plate, as an after effect of the two run single he plated to complete the Cardinal comeback in the decisive game of the 2012’s Division Series. Kozma, who is rather stoic even on a regular day, was also unflappable at the plate for the series. Despite the constant outpour of boos, he had four hits in nine at-bats for the series, and played his usual hard nose style on the basepaths. On the year, he’s turned in a respectable .262/.306/.675 effort thus far, and has been one of the most consistent everyday performers on the club.

2. Missing in Action: Jon Jay, who has been knees deep in a major slump, was sat down the last two games of the series. With lefty Ross Detwiler on the mound on Tuesday, it seemed to be a matchup move, yet when he sat again versus Strasberg on Wednesday, it became clear that the intention perhaps is to let him get all the way relaxed and back in Busch Stadium (where he is a career .329 hitter, yet only .250 in 2013) before putting him back in the mix again. His prolonged slump has dropped his season total at the plate to .205, which is tough to stomach out the leadoff spot. While a drop down to seventh didn’t help him much to start the series, he did manage a crucial sliding grab in the 8th inning of Monday’s victory.

3. Mujica makes a way: For now, the Chief is in charge. Edward Mujica, who was really turned to as the last reasonable resort in the bullpen for the closer position, turned in series that has (for the time being) fanned the flames on much maligned closer role. He saved each game in the series, without surrendering a hit in the process. He pitched to contact, striking out only one batter, but has maintained the impeccable control that’s made him the exception in the late inning mix all year (one walk in nine appearances). While he doesn’t have the track record or the stuff that Boggs and Rosenthal boast, there’s nobody else that’s even gotten close the effectiveness he’s shown thus far.

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Matt Adams turns potential into reality for St. Louis Cardinals

When the St. Louis Cardinals waged their annual war with injuries last season as Allen Craig and Lance Berkman went on the disabled list within weeks of each other in May, the Cardinals needed a replacement, and their first choice was minor leaguer Matt Adams.


Adams looked the part. He’s 6-foot-3-inches tall, weighs 260 pounds and hit 82 homeruns in his four years in the minor leagues while compiling a .318 batting average. But that wasn’t the player who showed up in the Cardinals lineup in 2012. Adams hit .244 with two homeruns and 13 RBIs in his 27-game stay with the big-league club.

So where was this power potential that made him the Cardinals first choice to fill-in while two players with power bats sat on the disabled list? Apparently it had left Adams’ right elbow.

Adams and the Cardinals didn’t know it at the time, but he had been hampered by a bone spur in his elbow and eventually had surgery to repair it last season after the Cardinals sent him back to the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds.

And it turns out that injury made a huge difference because the 2013 version of Adams is much more in line with the stories of his powerful approach to hitting and why the Cardinals considered him a top prospect..

Adams crushed the ball throughout spring training. He hit three homeruns and led the team with 17 RBIs in 28 games. He has carried that success into the regular season so far, and at times carried the team.

He got the Cardinals their first extra-base hit of the three-game series last weekend against the San Francisco Giants when he hit a two-run, ground-rule double into right-centerfield in the fourth inning Sunday against Giants ace Matt Cain. He also carried his hot bat into the Cardinals first home series of the season, a three-game set with the division-rival Cincinnati Reds.

The Cardinals trailed the Reds 1-0 in the sixth inning Tuesday against Reds starter Bronson Arroyo, who to that point in the game had not allowed a hitter to reach base. But Adams, who entered the game as a pinch hitter, waited on one of Arroyo’s trademark slow breaking balls and crushed it into the rightfield seats for a two-run homer.

Then he did the same thing in the sixth inning Wednesday against Reds pitcher Homer Bailey as the Cardinals cruised to a 10-0 win behind a stellar complete-game performance by starter Jake Westbrook.

Adams is in such a groove right now he has the look of a hitter who could hit almost any pitch out of the ballpark. He is getting healthy cuts on pitches he misses, and most of his foul balls have been smashed into the seats down the rightfield line.

That’s the type of hitter the Cardinals management saw in the minor leagues, and it’s the type of hitter who will likely play a very important role for the team throughout the season.

Craig is still the starting first baseman, and he is in no danger of losing that job. But Craig will also have to play rightfield on a fairly regular basis to give 35-year-old Carlos Beltran enough days off to make it through the season, and that could give Adams enough opportunities to be a large part of the Cardinals offense this season.

Even if he is primarily used in a bench role, it’s always nice to have a player who’s hitting over .600 ready to take an important at-bat late in a ballgame.

Sure, Adams won’t continue to hit .600 or better throughout the season, but the Cardinals now have a power hitter who can change the tone of a game immediately.

The Cardinals thought Adams could provide that aspect of the game when he came up in 2012. Now they know he can in 2013.

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Welcome To Kansas City Royals Baseball James Shields

The biggest move of the winter took center stage on Opening Day for the Kansas City Royals.  No longer a team that is rebuilding, David Glass and company took steps this off-season to become contenders.


The top prospect in the organization was packaged away in order to get the one thing the Royals felt they needed more than anything else: a pitcher that could truly be an ace.  In addition, they got a pitcher who possesses the nickname to define his role with the club.  Welcome to 2013 Royals baseball, let us introduce “Big Game” James Shields.

Opening Day showed the fans exactly what they wanted to see.  Shields took the mound and pitched like the ace that he is.  He got in small bits of trouble, refused to be shook up about it, and fought out of the jams.  He struck out six batters without issuing a single free pass.  He battled, giving up eight hits and still managed to pitch six innings.  He showed Royals fans that he was exactly as advertised.

Aaron Crow and Kelvin Herrera furthered what fans already knew.  The rebuilt rotation would be supported by the strength of the team the last few years: the bullpen.  They were not perfect, but the were close enough.  Three strikeouts, one walk, and two innings later, the Royals pitching staff had put the team in a great position to win a baseball game.  With the exception of one poor pitch from their starter, the Royals were great.  All they needed was two runs to win the game.

That, on the other hand, proved to be difficult.  White Sox starter Chris Sale was Shields-like in his own right.  He scattered hits, kept guys off the bases, and stayed out of trouble.  He went deep into the game and then allowed his bullpen to close the door.  The Royals had their chances, but simply could not deliver.  Ultimately, it came down to the top of the ninth inning with the potential game-tying run sitting in scoring position at second base.  Eric Hosmer had drawn a walk and stole second, trying to ignite something to happen.

Jeff Francoeur grounded out weakly to the shortstop, unable to beat out a possible infield single and drawing the curtain on the first game of the season.

Do not fret, Royals fans, this offense will not sputter like this frequently.  If Shields continues to give up one run per outing, he will find himself winning a lot of games in Royals blue.

But for one day, at the beginning of the 2013 campaign, it sure felt a lot like deja vu.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at i70baseball.
You can follow him on Twitter by 
clicking here.

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Yahoo Sports: A Look at the Future St. Louis Cardinals Hurlers

COMMENTARY | The St. Louis Cardinals organization has been named by many different sources as having one of the best farm systems in baseball and the pitching talent is a large reason for that. Perspective becomes increasingly important however when determining if a pitcher is considered a major-league pitcher or a top-of-the-rotation major league pitcher.


My previous article took a look at why the Adam Wainwright extension was a much more sound decision than the possibility of signing Albert Pujols to a long-term deal would have been. During that discussion, I point out that Wainwright was much harder to replace since there were very few arms in the minor league system that project to take over his position as “ace” with this club.

Many fans have to wonder what I might have been talking about. The young pitching has looked more than impressive at the end of 2012 and during the spring of 2013. Why then, fans wonder, would I say that there is only one pitcher that projects to be the potential heir to the Wainwright throne?

Click here to read an in depth look at the young hurlers in the Cardinals organization.

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To Start Or To Relieve: Wade Davis

James Shields was the “big name” in the Shields/Wade Davis trade, but the success or failure of the trade hinges on Davis. Shields is the Kansas City Royals’ ace, but he’s a free agent after the 2014 season. Whether he pitches well or not, it’s likely he’s gone after two years. However, Davis is under team control until 2016. The Royals believe Shields will improve the team now. As for Davis, the Royals believe he will develop into a two or three starter and be a part of the starting rotation the next few seasons.


This spring, the Royals plan to give Davis every chance to make the starting rotation as their 3-4-5 starter. From 2009-2011, Davis started 64 games for the Tampa Bay Rays. But last year, Davis stayed in the bullpen, appearing in 54 games. During Spring Training, the Rays gave Davis a shot as their fifth starter, but he lost out to Jeff Niemann. And when Niemann went down with a broken ankle, the Rays promoted Alex Cobb to the starting rotation, leaving Davis in the bullpen.

So is Davis a better starter, or a better reliever? Let’s see what the stats say:

2009 3.72 6 6 36.1 15 1.266 8.2 0.5 3.2 8.9 2.77
2010 4.07 29 29 168.0 76 1.351 8.8 1.3 3.3 6.1 1.82
2011 4.45 29 29 184.0 91 1.375 9.3 1.1 3.1 5.1 1.67
2012 2.43 54 0 70.1 19 1.095 6.1 0.6 3.7 11.1 3.00
4 Yrs 3.94 118 64 458.2 201 1.315 8.6 1.1 3.3 6.7 2.04
162 Game Avg. 3.94 44 24 171 75 1.315 8.6 1.1 3.3 6.7 2.04
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/20/2013.

Davis prefers a starting role, but his stats say he’s a better reliever. He had a much lower ERA, and over nine innings gave up fewer hits and struck out more batters. However, he did walk more batters over nine innings, which isn’t good if you’re a reliever. And with the Rays talented starting rotation last year, Davis stayed in the bullpen.

But how does Davis as a starter compare to the 2012 Royals starting rotation? Here’s the stats of the top five Royals starters:

1 Bruce Chen* 5.07 34 34 191.2 108 1.367 10.1 1.5 2.2 6.6 2.98
2 Luke Hochevar 5.73 32 32 185.1 118 1.419 9.8 1.3 3.0 7.0 2.36
3 Luis Mendoza 4.23 30 25 166.0 78 1.416 9.5 0.8 3.2 5.6 1.76
4 Jeremy Guthrie 3.16 14 14 91.0 32 1.132 8.3 0.9 1.9 5.5 2.95
5 Will Smith* 5.32 16 16 89.2 53 1.606 11.1 1.2 3.3 5.9 1.79
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/20/2013.

If you take Davis’ worst year, 2011, he had a better ERA than the Royals rotation, save Jeremy Guthrie and Luis Mendoza. The Royals rotation had more SO/9 than the 2011 Davis and except for Mendoza and Will Smith, the Royals rotation had a better BB/9 ratio than the 2011 Davis. If Davis was in the Royals starting rotation last year, he would likely be the number three starter behind Guthrie and Mendoza.

So what does this mean? Well, Davis is a good middle of the rotation starter, but is a better reliever. If Bruce Chen and Mendoza regress, Luke Hochevar pitches like Luke Hochevar and Davis pitches like he did in 2010, he’ll be in the starting rotation. But if Chen, Mendoza or Hochevar have a great Spring Training, Davis might end up in the bullpen.

But that’s not likely, despite what happens this spring. The Royals will give Davis every opportunity to make the starting rotation, just to show the Shields/Davis trade wasn’t a bust like some Royals fans and pundits think it is. If Shields and Davis are starters, the trade doesn’t look bad. The team got two quality starters to improve their rotation. But if Shields is a starter and Davis is a reliever, then the trade looks like the Royals got an ace for only two years and another bullpen arm in an already strong bullpen. Not bad, but not that good either.

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Everyone Calm Down – Royals Trade Reaction

The Kansas City Royals  traded away two high level prospects last night, bringing home a legitimate ace and another strong pitcher.  The trade provided the Royals with the one thing they had been looking for over the last two seasons, an improved pitching staff.

Naturally, the pulse of the Royals fan base raced.  Seemingly, it was not from excitement, it was from disappointment.  The fans seem to feel that the team came out a “loser” in the deal.

Everyone Calm Down.

The Royals had a very big need.  They needed an ace for this team and they got it.  Not only did they get a strong number one, they picked up a legit number three in the process.  The rotation has been overhauled this offseason and, going into 2013, this team looks poised for a playoff run.  Indeed, it may in fact be “Our Time” for the Royals fan base.

The cost of the acquisition is what seems to be bothering most people.  Trading away two strong prospects in one trade is steep no matter how you look at it.  That being said, these players were not ready to contribute in 2013 and may not track as great as they once did.

Jake Odorizzi is a firm pitching prospect that shows promise and will be a contributor to a major league pitching staff within the next few years.  Most scouts agree, however, that he will contribute as a number three or four guy, most likely solidifying the middle to back-end of a rotation.  His breaking stuff has not developed as well as many thought it would and his fastball, which clocks in the mid-90’s, is elevated more often than most would like.

Wil Myers was a hitting machine at Triple-A Omaha last year.  Most anyone you talk to will tell you that this young man will be a strong outfielder in the Major Leagues.  Projections have him hitting 25 home runs and driving in 85+ runs while playing consistent defense.  Those same projections figure his arrival in the Major Leagues in late 2013 and those numbers to become reality in 2015.

Mike Montgomery was included in the deal and may be the player that breaks out the quickest in Tampa.  He is a classic “change of scenery” guy and fans will need to remind themselves that whatever he does, in whatever uniform he does it in, he most likely would not have accomplished that wearing a Royals uniform in the first place.

So, the Royals traded away a potential big hitter, an average pitcher, and a guy that just couldn’t get traction within this organization.

What did they get back?

Wade Davis is a slightly better version of Odorizzi.  The biggest difference between the two is that Davis is ready to produce in the middle of the rotation now instead of two years from now.  He has been successful as a starter and a reliever and figures to make an impact on this rotation immediately.

James Shields is an ace pitcher that finished in the top three in Cy Young voting just a year ago.  He is also highly regarded as a mentor type player that will help the clubhouse chemistry around the young talent coming through the organization.  He is a total package player that will impact this team in 2013 and 2014 before reaching free agency.

The Royals still have some holes.  They have a need in the outfield and at second base.  But the biggest issue for this team was the pitching rotation and that is no longer an issue.

When it comes down to it, if you want to improve your team, you have to give something up in the process.  This team gained known commodities in exchange for potential.

I’ll take a known winner over a potential win any day of the week.  Not only that, I’ll take winning now over maybe winning later.

Maybe if everyone calms down, they will agree.

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