Like Los Angeles Lakers great James Worthy, they call him “Big Game James” due in no small part to his propensity for clutch performances. He owns every major pitching record for the Tampa Bay Rays, has a World Series victory, finished 3rd in 2011’s American League Cy Young voting, and struck out 15 batters in his final performance for the only team he has ever known.
Wil Myers has no nickname (at least, none that I am aware of), was this year’s Minor League Player of the year, and, according to his Twitter feed, has a real fondness for Olive Garden.
James Shields is 31 and now under Royals’ control for two years. (He HAS stated that he’d be interested in signing an extension, but, well, he’s been here 2 days. Let’s see how all that pans out.)
Myers is 22 and will likely be with the Rays for at least 6 years and, given their proclivity for handing out long-term extensions to their young players, probably longer than that.
It was an interesting trade to say the least, an all-out, balls-on-the-cutting-board move perpetrated by general manager Dayton Moore that will either leave him a Grand Kansas City Hero, or cause elderly women to spit on the sidewalk whenever his name gets mentioned.
For declaring that, “the future is now, there’s no time like the present, and the rebuilding days are done,” I commend Mr. Moore. In an extremely high stakes game of poker, he just went all-in. He doesn’t appear too willing to look back now, and for that, I say “kudos,” and, “it’s about goddamned time.”
It had to be done sometime; everyone knows that. What nobody knows, however, is whether this racket will ever be shaped into something resembling music.
Meaning, “what now? Was this a good move?”
And that’s up for debate. And will be for a long, long time.
There are camps of people—passionate, intelligent statisticians and sport-folk—who cannot believe that this deal was made. The idea of trading someone as certain a sure-thing as Myers for a chance to maybe crack the playoffs next year, and maybe the year after, is mind-blowingly daft to them.
These folks are ardent believers that slow and steady will always win the race.
Then, there are camps of people—passionate, intelligent statisticians and sport-folk— who cannot believe that the first group is so perplexed. Myers is a prospect, after all, a good one, to be sure, but can’t we name 15 prospects who fizzled? 20 prospects? 100?
These folks are hardcore Royals fans who look at the record books and realize that it has been TWENTY-SEVEN YEARS since the team last made the postseason. They are so tired of being a laughingstock fan base that they are literally willing to mortgage the future to see a winner now.
It’s hard to fault them for that.
And frankly, it’s hard to fault either camp and it’s just as hard to find imperfections in either argument. Some of them wanted one cookie now, and the others wanted to wait and get TWO cookies in ten minutes. Hey, cookies are good, you know?
Which camp wins is anyone’s guess. It really, truly is. It’s not a cop-out answer, it’s a “show me your working crystal ball and I’ll believe what you have to say” answer. There are a million things that can go wrong between now and the time when a grade can be given.
Injuries. Ineffectiveness. Potential. A million other components (Wade Davis, for starters) that I didn’t even get into.
So for now, all we can do is argue. And that’s fun. And it’s (mostly) healthy. And it’s one of the best things about sports—you know, aside from WATCHING or PLAYING them. We can second guess and play armchair GM and we can think people who we consider to be friends are idiots if they disagree with our stance. And that’s fine.
For what it’s worth, I hope I’m wrong about this move. Right now, I’m just too uncomfortable with it. I think that trading Myers leaves a gaping hole in right field that desperately needs to be addressed, and I think that Shields will be really good but probably not great, and I think that years from now, when Myers is a perennial All Star, we’ll all be cursing the name of Dayton Moore.
I really, really hope I’m wrong.
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