Showing posts with label Wil Myers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wil Myers. Show all posts

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Kansas City Royals must be happy they traded for James Shields, Wade Davis

Wade Davis struggled with Tampa Bay.
Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore made a trade that stunned the baseball world on Dec. 9, 2012.

He sent outfielder Wil Myers -- who at the time was Kansas City's top prospect and perhaps the best prospect in all of baseball -- and pitcher Jake Odorizzi and two minor-leaguers to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for veteran pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis and a player to be named later.

The critics howled. How could the general manager of the perpetually rebuilding Royals part with such a huge piece of the franchise's future? This was a "win-now" kind of trade, and Kansas City was coming off a lousy 72-win season in 2012. Was Moore delusional? Certainly he didn't believe Shields and Davis would vault the Royals into contention. Trading away Myers was a move that would haunt the franchise for the next decade, right?

Wrong.

Nearly two years after the deal, Moore is getting the last laugh. That's because the Royals are headed to the World Series for the first time in 29 years. Kansas City finished off a four-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles in the American League Championship Series with a 2-1 victory Wednesday night.

Shields and Davis are both centerpieces of this pennant winning team. Shields is the No. 1 starter in the Kansas City rotation. This season, he led the team in wins (14), innings pitched (227) and strikeouts (180), while finishing second on the team in ERA (3.21). Teammate Yordano Ventura's ERA (3.20) was just a touch better.

The Royals converted Davis, a failed starter, to a full-time relief role this year with outstanding results. Working as Kansas City's eighth-inning guy, he fired 72 innings, striking out 109 batters and posting a 1.00 ERA and a 0.847 WHIP.  He's been lights out in the postseason, striking out 10 and allowing just one run over 9.1 innings in eight games.

In Wednesday's pennant clincher, Davis worked with surgical efficiency, retiring the Orioles 1-2-3 in the eighth inning on 10 pitches (9 strikes). It was the kind of outing Royals fans have come to expect from Davis. He's done it all year.

So, on one December night, with one trade, Moore acquired two players who would become the best starting pitcher and the best relief pitcher on an American League championship team. He paid a price for it, sure, but that celebration that's going on in Kansas City tonight would not be happening without this trade.

And Myers?

He won the Rookie of the Year award in 2013, but this year he compiled an ugly slash line of .222/.294/.320 with just six home runs and 35 RBIs in 87 games. Myers is only 23 years old, and there is still plenty of time for him to get his career on track, but I don't think the Royals miss him right now.

Let this be a lesson to some media and some fans who tend to overvalue prospects. No matter how highly regarded a young player may be, sometimes it does pay dividends to trade that prospect for more proven ballplayers.

Kansas City is proof of that.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Rookies of the Year; Cubs radio booth; and Joe Mauer

The announcement of the Rookies of the Year on Monday proved to be anticlimatic. The two favorites won easily: Tampa Bay outfielder Wil Myers and Miami pitcher Jose Fernandez.

Myers, 22, hit .293 with 13 home runs and 53 RBIs in just 88 games after being called up from the minors June 18. His middle-of-the-order presence was key to Tampa Bay's surge to the playoffs. His selection as Rookie of the Year was a no-brainer, since the rest of the AL crop was weak.

Myers got 23 of the 30 first-place votes, easily outdistancing Detroit infielder Jose Iglesias, who got five first-place votes. Tampa Bay pitcher Chris Archer and Oakland pitcher Dan Straily each earned one first-place vote.

I thought the NL voting would be a little tighter, just because of the hype surrounding Yasiel Puig. The outfielder plays in a major media market and was widely credited with turning around the Los Angeles Dodgers' season, but in the end, substance won out over style.

The year Fernandez put together was too good to ignore. He earned 26 of the 30 first-place votes, while Puig got the other four. Fernandez is also a finalist for the NL Cy Young award, as well he should be. The 20-year-old went 12-6 with a 2.19 ERA and recorded 187 strikeouts. Those are gaudy numbers for anybody, but it's especially impressive when you consider Fernandez pitched for the 62-100 Marlins.

I was wondering if Fernandez would be forgotten by some writers because he toils in relative obscurity on a bad team. He was not forgotten. Unlike Puig, he was in the majors the whole season and excelled the entire year. Accordingly, he is more deserving of the award.

Former players vie for opening in Cubs radio booth

I saw an entry on Robert Feder's blog on Monday that the Cubs have pared their list for the analyst job in their radio booth. The position is open after Keith Moreland resigned to spend more time with his family.

As you might expect, many of the candidates are former Cubs players: Rick Sutcliffe, Kerry Wood, Todd Hollandsworth, Mark DeRosa, Ryan Theriot, Eric Karros, Doug Glanville and Dave Otto.

Feder reports former WGN broadcaster Andy Masur is also on the list, but I would think he would be more of a candidate if they were looking for a play-by-play guy. My guess is one of the former players gets the gig.

If they pick Sutcliffe, I will probably vow to never tune into a Cubs radio broadcast again. I can't stand Sutcliffe on ESPN. He never shuts up. Baseball is a sport where you have to let the game breathe a little bit, you know?

If it were my call, Hollandsworth, Karros and Glanville would be the finalists. 

Joe Mauer permanently moves to first base

I read an article the other day that said Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer is making a permanent move to first base.

Thank goodness.

Whoever the Twins put behind the plate next year will probably make about 75 percent fewer trips to the mound than Mauer, whose propensity for conferencing with the crappy Minnesota pitching staff is enough to make a sane man brain himself.