Wil Myers and the Trap of Filling a Need

According to reports out of Kansas City and Boston, the Royals have discussed trading outfield prospect Wil Myers to the Red Sox and Rays in deals that would net them Jon Lester or James Shields respectively. These discussions are the fruit of the Royals desire to upgrade a rotation that posted an ERA- of 122 as a group last year, the fourth worst mark of any club in baseball. Given how bad their rotation was, fixing it has become priority No. 1 for Dayton Moore this winter.

In general, replacing your worst players is a pretty sound off-season strategy. If one part of your roster is filled with replacement level scrubs, you can often get the most bang for your buck by replacing them with actual Major Leaguers. In fact, those moves are often the easiest upgrades to make, since there are more readily available +1 to +2 win players than there are +3 to +4 win players, so upgrading a black hole can be a more efficient way to improve the team than trying to upgrade over a decent-but-flawed placeholder.

So, from that perspective, the Royals plan to upgrade their rotation was a sound one. It’s just that the way they’re going about making these upgrades is a little strange, and nothing is stranger than the idea of trading away Myers simply because the team wants better pitchers. Because, without Myers, the team would then need a better outfielder, and they very well may not be any better off than they were before the trade.

The Royals simply do not have a surplus of quality outfielders. Last year, they gave seven players various amounts of playing time in the outfield. Those seven, by quantity of playing time:

Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Fld BsR WAR
Alex Gordon 721 0.294 0.368 0.455 0.357 126 14.1 1.2 5.9
Jeff Francoeur 603 0.235 0.287 0.378 0.285 77 -5.8 -4.6 -1.2
Jarrod Dyson 330 0.260 0.328 0.322 0.291 80 2.4 7.9 1.6
Lorenzo Cain 244 0.266 0.316 0.419 0.318 99 7 0.9 1.7
Mitch Maier 74 0.172 0.260 0.313 0.256 56 -1.8 0.9 -0.3
Jason Bourgeois 66 0.258 0.303 0.323 0.278 72 -3.4 -1.5 -0.5
David Lough 65 0.237 0.292 0.305 0.266 64 2.1 0.2 0.2

Alex Gordon was excellent. Lorenzo Cain and Jarrod Dyson formed a decent enough center field job-share, and they’re complementary enough that you can keep them around as a CF platoon. And then there was everyone else. Jeff Francouer was a disaster, and one of the worst everyday players in Major League Baseball, and yet, Mitch Maier, Jason Bourgeois, and David Lough managed to limbo under even his very low bar. And besides Myers, the outfield prospects in the minors don’t offer any hope either.

Put simply, the Royals hole in right field is larger than their hole in the rotation. Even if you’re betting on a bounceback from Francouer, you’re looking at a 29-year-old who has averaged +1.3 WAR per 600 PA in his career, with almost all of that coming from 2005-2007. In the last five years, Francouer has totaled +1.8 WAR. He’s about as close to being a replacement level scrub as one can be without actually being a +0 WAR player.

Trading Wil Myers to improve the rotation is the definition of robbing Peter to pay Paul. They’d simply be creating a void at one position to fill the void at another. The entire idea that the Royals are trading from a surplus of hitting is a myth. The presence of Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, and Billy Butler don’t affect the Royals ability to extract value from playing Myers in any way, shape, or form.

The only way a team can have too many hitters is if they begin to interfere with each other’s ability to find a regular spot in the line-up. There are situations where a team faces diminishing returns from having too many similar players, and trading them to fill holes at other positions can make the team better, even if the talent exchange is a lateral maneuver. If Myers was a 1B/DH, Hosmer and Butler would be impediments to Myers’ production in KC, and the Royals would have a real reason to trade one of the three.

But he’s not. He’s an outfielder, and the Royals are just as strongly in need of an outfielder as they are another starting pitcher. Swapping Myers for a pitcher only makes them differently weak, rather than actually eliminating a problem on the roster. And, given the pitchers the Royals are talking about acquiring, the rotation upgrade would likely be a short lived one to begin with.

Both Lester and Shields only have two years left on their contracts, and both will make in excess of $20 million over the next two seasons, then be in a position to receive long term contracts that would likely price them out of the Royals plans. The reports of the rumored negotiations actually suggest that the Royals would need to find a way to clear money off the payroll simply to afford the current salaries of either pitcher, much less figuring out a way to afford a big raise by the start of the 2015 season.

Given these contract terms, a swap of Myers for either Shields or Lester might not make the Royals any better in the short term. The fact that the team is apparently strapped for cash means that they wouldn’t then be able to supplement this trade by bringing in additional outfield help, so the team would be stuck with another season of Jeff Francoeur, Right Fielder. If the choice is between a Myers/Paulino or Francoeur/Lester combination, the marginal upgrade in 2013 is going to be on the order of one or two wins, and the long term hit from exchanging Myers cost-controlled seasons for the FA prices of either pitcher will be substantial.

Filling a hole on the roster is a noble goal, but teams need to be conscious of the trap of seeing a want as a need, and doing more harm to their organization than good in order to acquire a specific piece. Teams don’t need pitching or hitting or defense – they just need wins, and they can get those wins in a variety of packages. The Royals can with with good hitting and mediocre pitching, or mediocre hitting and good pitching, but they can’t win with mediocre hitting and pitching. And trading Myers for a short term pitching upgrade, while leaving Francouer to handle right field, would mainly serve to make sure the team is mediocre across the board.

The Royals aren’t in a position where they have too many good hitters to use Wil Myers. They don’t have a surplus of hitting, and they certainly don’t have a surplus of outfielders. Exchanging Myers for a pitcher is penny wise and pound foolish. The Royals don’t need better pitching. They need better players. Trading Myers for Lester or Shields doesn’t make them better. It just makes them differently bad.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.


109 Responses to “Wil Myers and the Trap of Filling a Need”

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  1. Not Rany says:

    Rany had a similar, but much less restrained, take on this (plus Glass and GMDM’s “soft” $70M payroll cap) here: http://www.ranyontheroyals.com/2012/11/rumors-and-repercussions.html

    What does “less restrained” mean? This, approximately: “I think Lester is a good candidate to bounce back, and in fact think he would be a fine buy-low candidate. But this isn’t buying low. This is paying steak prices for mystery meat, and hoping it turns out to be filet mignon.”

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    • chone! says:

      Minor quip but it’s a stretch to say that Pineda was “established” as a #2 starter given that he made exactly 28 MLB starts. Earlier in the piece, he mentions that Shields doesn’t come with the great defense, Rays ballpark and management. Pineda doesn’t get to go to NYC with Safeco either.

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  2. Matt says:

    The only way the Shields/Lester trade talks make any sense for KC is if either team is willing to send a solid prospect in addition to the pitcher. I’m thinking it would take either Bogaerts or Bradley from BOS; Archer or Lee from TB – which I don’t think either BOS/TB would do.

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    • vivalajeter says:

      This is my thought as well. I assumed they were willing to trade him in a package-trade for Lester/Shields. I don’t necessarily assume they’d make the 1:1 swap.

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    • brian says:

      The Red Sox rumor included pitching coming back to Boston and outfield help going to KC, this one for one swap of Myers for Lester is an easy narrative but the reports were never a one for one swap. I don’t know who the OF help from Boston would be. Ellsbury is doubtful, Bradley Jr is doubtful, and a guy like Brentz isn’t MLB ready so I can’t see why the Royals would go in win now mode and add a decent but not elite prospect who is probably a year away. Kalish maybe, but he’s had two lost seasons, and the Sweeney/Nava/Org filler would just be a throw in.

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    • B N says:

      However, at the point where you’re giving up an elite pitcher and giving away your top prospect (e.g. Lee, Bogaerts), are you really gaining anything? Lester (and Shields also) I think have pretty reasonable contracts, with surplus value. I’m not sure if moving up 20 rungs on the top-prospect list if worth giving up 2 years of a high-end MLB starter, unless you’re looking at a truly rare talent.

      I mean, to put things in perspective, Bogaerts just put up more power at age 19 than Myers did at the same age. If that’s what it would take, I don’t think any team would bite at that deal. Archer seems to have his stock a bit down, so he might be around the filler-level it would take to get a deal done.

      I’m still not sure what the Royals think this helps though. Do the Royals think they’re one arm away or something (or will be next year)? They could use Myers in the OF and there’s plenty of fairly capable pitching on the market this year. I’d rather grab some make-good pitchers and hope they pan out than raid the farm.

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      • vivalajeter says:

        A year ago, I might agree. But there’s reason to believe that Lester is no longer an elite pitcher. His numbers have trended in the wrong direction over the last few years. From 09-11 the trend was slight, but last year his ERA was damn near 5, his FIP was over 4 for the first time in his career, his velocity dipped, and his K rate dropped a lot. Maybe it was a one-year blip, but if he’s going to strike out about 7 per 9 innings instead of 9+ per 9 innings, then I wouldn’t expect many CY Young votes in his future.

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    • glenstein says:

      Are you saying Bogaerts + Lester for Myers would be a fair trade?

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      • Michael Scarn says:

        I would not do that I was the Red Sox. Myers is a top 3 prospect, Bogaerts is top 15, the difference between that is not worth Jon Lester.

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      • Matt says:

        Read my comment – “which I don’t think either BOS/TB would do.” – No, I don’t think BOS would do that because it is unfair – I said the only way it makes sense for KC is to get another good prospect back.

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      • glenstein says:

        On the one hand you say BOS/TB would not do the trade, on the other hand you say the Royals WOULD do the trade. So yeah, it really is not actually clear from your comment if you think thats a fair trade.

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      • placidity says:

        On the one hand, the Royals WOULD trade Francouer for Felix Hernandez. On the other hand, the Mariners wouldn’t make that trade.

        Is that vague as to whether this trade proposal is fair?

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    • Patrick says:

      Actually Wil Myers for Xander Bogaerts straight up would be a completely defensible trade for both sides.

      Both these players are prospects — outstanding prospects — but prospects. The uncertainty in both their outcomes far outweighs any differences.

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      • B N says:

        Eh, I wouldn’t do that if I was the Royals. While Bogaerts looks a lot like Myers at a similar age, he’s got a lot more development to go. Given the choice of a prospect who is MLB-ready and the same guy when he still needed 2 years of seasoning in the minors, I’d generally want the guy who is ready to promote. There’s definitely some difference in their value, I just don’t think the difference is a top starter. I’m not even sure if that difference is worth a #3 starter. Of course, this hinges on the assumption that Lester or Shields still have surplus value.

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      • Synovia says:

        Bogaerts plays a position high on the defensive spectrum, Myers low on it.

        Myers is definitely closer, so probably has more value,but its not black and white.

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  3. Ari N says:

    It’s entertaining to observe the Royals build up a promising organization then systematically tear that notion apart.

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    • TIF says:

      In what way have they done this? Trading away Wil Myers wont destroy the rebuild they’ve been doing with their other young talents still on the team.

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  4. Jonathan says:

    Last year’s Montero/Pineda swap seems like a perfect example of what you’re describing for Seattle. Granted, it didn’t play out very well for either club.

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    • Basebull says:

      As an M’s fan, I ain’t complaining.

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      • LK says:

        I’m really not complaining as a Yankee fan either. So far it’s been a trade of no performance (due to injury) for awful performance.

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    • Kazinski says:

      You can’t judge a trade of young players with no track record by the first year. Montero was a rookie playing in the worst run environment in the majors (#30 on ESPN’s park factors ranking), and that probably understates it because Safeco field is much worse on RH batters than LH.

      Bill James projects Montero next year at .285/.337/.466, and I don’t know if that accounts for the fences being moved in at Safeco.

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    • joser says:

      Yeah, it’s a perfect example, except in all the ways it isn’t. Cameron’s point is that the Royals could be trading a prospect from an area (the outfield) where they don’t have an excess. The Mariners had an excess of pitching (to the extent any team can), and in terms of prospects still do (even assuming not all of Walker/Paxton/Hultzen/Carraway/Maurer make it as effective SP) and while adding Montero to the lineup were still able to effectively replace Pineda with (eventually) Iwakuma and Erasmo Ramirez without having to go shopping in the conventional free agent market. Lack of starting pitching was not a problem for the M’s in 2012. Lack of outfield contributions could be a problem for a Myers-less Royals in 2013.

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  5. Dirck says:

    By simply dumping Francouer ,even if they have to pay some team to take him ,and replacing him with Myers this year and hoping that they get a full healthy year from Cain ,the Royals’outfield would be upraded tremendously .Better pitching than what they have had can be found relatively cheaply among free agents because the bar has been set so low by what they have . Paulino and Duffy ,if healthy ,provide possible upgrades ,as does Odorizzi . Giving up myers would be a big mistake .

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  6. Matt says:

    So how’s a A.J. Burnett/Garrett Jones for Will Meyers trade look?

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    • Los says:

      Living in Pittsburgh, I can tell you that all 20 pirates fans would be (stupidly) outraged by this (myself excluded).

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      • Matt says:

        Right, I generally hope for moves that enrage the ‘burghers as a transplant, myself. (Dad moved to IL before I was born and I unluckily inherited my fandom)

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      • Pirates Hurdles says:

        You mean the 20 Pirate fans that outdrew KC and the ChiSox?

        Nobody would be outraged by trading 1 year of AJ for Wil Myers. Dayton Moore can be had at times, but he isn’t that big of a fool.

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      • Los says:

        Pirates Hurdles, maybe you are in a different part of the Burgh but I can tell you that I had to actually argue that Andrew McCutchen is better than AJ Burnett to some people who thought AJ was the team MVP. People around here think of AJ Burnett as an Ace and proven commodity. These are the same people who were begging for a Taillon for Victorino trade mere months ago. Maybe I just know stupid people.

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  7. Paul says:

    The Royals just dont make any sence to me. You have one of the worst overall players in the game on your team, and you have one of the top prospects in the game at the same positon. Its really not hard to sub Myers in Francour and you have improved your team. Sign some FA pitchers to imporve your starting staff.

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    • Nick says:

      It requires them to recognize that Francoeur is one of the worst players in the game. They have historically struggled with that concept.

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      • Atari says:

        Even if he was a replacement player scrub in 2013, at least he would be cheaper than Francouer, under team control for 6 years and still have greater potential for 2014 onward than Francouer.

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    • Gil says:

      It’s not easy to walk away from a contract that’s more than 10% of the total payroll. Even when it’s the smart thing to do.

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    • vivaelpujols says:

      Exactly. The market is flush with good not great starting pitchers who could be had for cheapish deals (Haren, Marcum, Oswalt, McCarthy). Instead Dayton signs Guthrie and Santana for ~20 million.

      Dude is actually a fucking moron. Whenever someone says “GM’s know better” I say “Dayton Moore”.

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      • joser says:

        Moore seems to draft ok (or his Director of Scouting does and he stays out of the way), but he makes, uh, questionable trades (Yuniesky Betancourt) and looks like a complete idiot when he dips into the free agent market (Yuniesky Betancourt… again). The Royals may be cursed with a low payroll, but it’s also a blessing because it limits the damage Moore can do.

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    • Jeremy says:

      Myers hasn’t been called up yet because the Royals have to wait till late April 2013 to get the max pre-arbitration/FA years out of him. By resisting the temptation to call him up this Fall, despite Frenchy’s struggles, they have put themselves in position to get nearly seven years of dirt cheap RF.

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  8. Tomcat says:

    the 09 Rangers were in a very similar situation rather than selling everything to get a pitcher they trusted that a 22yo Holland and a 23yo Matt Harrison would improve on their 130ERA- that plus moving CJ WIlson from the pen(Aaron Crow, Greg Holland or Louis Coleman anyone?) and signing Colby Lewis was all it took for that team to not miss the playoffs since.

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    • Matt says:

      Exactly – and KC is in the AL Central, a much easier division to win in. All it would take to compete is the progression of their young hitters (all but Butler are in line for improvements from last year), coupled with a league average pitching staff. Trading six years of one of the best hitting prospects in baseball for two years of a #2/3 sp’s services seems like the wrong direction to go.

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  9. Eminor3rd says:

    They really should have signed Melky instead of Guthrie. Wtf Dayton Moore

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  10. Jonny Gomes says:

    No worries, the Red Sox are sending me along too.

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  11. SKob says:

    Even though I agree with the premise of this article, a couple things I don’t like. Calling Dyson/Cain a platoon is ridiculous. A healthy Cain plays 95% of the time if not more. And Myers is a prospect with no major league experience. Everyone seems to think he’d be a star as soon as he comes up. Have any of you actually read a scouting report? Besides, look at KC’s last top prospects… How are Mous and Hosmer working out? They gonna carry the team to the playoffs? Lester and Shields have both been mentioned in CY Young races in not too distant memory. Since when is a prospect with strike zone issues worth more than potential All-Star caliber pitching?

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    • Spike says:

      it’s not just about 2013.

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    • Tomcat says:

      Albert Pujols hit .314/.378/.543 but only had 15AB above A ball his only year in the minors. Evan Longoria hit .307/.403/.528 as a 21yo in AA, Wil Myers hit .343/.414/.731, Delmon Young hit .336/.386/.582 Brandon Wood hit .276/.355/.552, Ryan Braun hit .289/.357/.514 but was 22yo who knows where in that spectrum Myers ends up but if Hosmer and Mous continue to develop that is a nasty 3,4,5

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  12. Scott says:

    SHields and Lester alone for Myers doesn’t make sense.

    Maybe Lester, Barnes and Boegartes they’d do it.

    If I’m the Braves I offer them Minor/Medlen, Delgado/Teheran and Gattis/Bethancourt and see if they bite./

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    • Atari says:

      Barnes and Bogaerts on top of Lester is too much. Bogaerts is a top 10 hitting prospect and Barnes would probably be a Top 10 RH pitching prospect too.

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      • Scott says:

        What value does Lester Bring? I know Bogaerts is a great prospect. Maybe Barnes as well is too much maybe instead it would be their next highest ranking pitching prospect. But does Lester really bring much to the table? He’s on a 3 or 4 year decline in K numbers and a 3 year rise in HR rates. He’s not the same pitcher he was 4 years ago.

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    • Antonio bananas says:

      DM is dumb when it comes to the braves. Trade a chipper jones bobble head for clubhouse leadership with a newly signed Matt Diaz for Myers instead.

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  13. I wonder if Hosmer’s 2012 disappearing act has them shying off of Myers at all. Like, they’re afraid Myers might drink the same koolaid that Hosmer did. I’m aware of Hosmer’s perceived injury woes, but I think this conversation still begs the question.

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    • Atari says:

      Perhaps I could see the Royals being “prospect hype shy.” They were burned pretty badly by Hosmer’s performance this year. Still, Dayton Moore is such a tools heavy assessor. It is the very reason why Moore has so thoroughly stuck with Francouer. You would think if there is any GM in the majors who would be awed by a prospect’s power tool it would be Dayton Moore.

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    • vivalajeter says:

      That’s a good point, and I think it goes beyond Hosmer. Alex Gordon has 2 nice years in a row, but they came about 3-4 years later than everybody expected. He was a can’t-miss prospect who took a while for things to come together. Butler broke out last year, but he was an underachiever for a couple of years before that. Moustakas had a nice defense-fueled WAR last year, but his bat hasn’t shown up yet. And then there’s Hosmer. It seems like none of their prospects make an impression as fast as expected.

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      • ph says:

        Long suffering Royals fan here and I can only disagree with one thing you say. Butler has never been an underachiever….just underrated as a hitter. Won’t turn 27 until during the 2013 season and has a .300 career BA, almost 1,000 hits already and has averaged 43 doubles, 21 HRs, and 93 rbi’s over the last 4 seasons for a team that hasn’t had too much around him.

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  14. Admiral Ackbar says:

    Trade Myers.

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  15. WH says:

    I know Myers is a great prospect and considered one of the best. Prior to this year, he hadn’t tapped into his raw power entirely which he was able to do this year (and he acknowledged power being a primary goal in a milb.com interview that I saw). However, his strikeout rate remains very large. He has shown great bat control speed and power numbers, but he struck out more than once a game in the minors. How are scouts so sure he lower his K’s and hit for a good BA in the bigs? Once again, I agree he is a big-time prospect, but I don’t understand yet how he is considered top 5 overall no doubt.

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    • tbr says:

      Wil Myers has struck out 339 times in 381 minor league games.

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      • WH says:

        He also has never had an Iso Power of .200 or above before this year. You need to actually ready my comment before you post. He struck out 140 times in 134 games (522 at bats) in the minor leagues last year.

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      • KMav says:

        Myers has struck out only 20.6% in his minor league career. Is that a huge issue? I don’t think so.

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      • Tomcat says:

        and when Matt Kemp was Myers age he had struck out 293 times in 315 games your point is?

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      • SKob says:

        Yeah, I’m sure he’s on Matt Kemp’s path and not Johnny Gomes! Great comp! Take a huge outlier and make your point – brilliant!

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    • KMav says:

      As for this years K rate, he had a high K rate[27.6%] in his first 150 plate appearences in AA as he changed his approach and began swinging for the fences. He also had a 1.146 OPS in those somewhat higher K rates. Then he went to AAA and his K rate dropped to 22.3% as he got more used to his new approach.

      His K rates don’t concern me at all. His defense and speed being marginal is more of a concern. Still think he is a top 5 no doubt. I think he is a safe prospect aswell.

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      • WH says:

        I don’t think we should completely dismiss his 27.6% K rate in his first 150 PA just because he was adjusting his approach because we wouldn’t know how to adjust everything. With that logic, we should discount his power numbers in his first 150 PA because pitchers didn’t know he was trying to hit for more power so they pitched him differently than if they knew what his approach was.

        His overall K rate of 23.7% would be troublesome to me. No doubt he could be a 30+ homerun threat but the difference between him being a .280 hitter or a .300 hitter could depend on his K rates. He was very young for the league and may very well improve his K rate but for now, I’m not sure if I would consider his hit tool safe. Once again, I’m not trying to say I know exactly where I would rank him, but I think his K rates should be discussed as a potential issue (which every prospect has).

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      • davisnc says:

        The difference between .280 and .300 is not the right conversation to be having about Wil Myers. Since you’re granting the 30 dong power, and his plate discipline projects to be solid, that frames this as the debate between his being an All-Star and being a superstar.

        Either is possible, but the real range of outcomes is obviously much larger. As you point out, the germane question is about his hit tool. He might hit .240 if big-league pitchers can get him swinging at their pitches. Who knows. Jay Bruce seems like a reasonable offensive comp (albeit lazy and perhaps subconsciously race-based), and no one would be upset with that result. Bruce also hit .300+ while playing young at multiple MiLB levels, but I think a .300 MLB season out of him at this point would be quite a surprise.

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  16. J. Francoeur says:

    I throw ball hard and far! No need OBP!

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  17. ecp says:

    I don’t believe this nonsense for a second anyway. Wil Myers is not going to be traded, period. This is extremely typical of offseason narrative and there is a new name every year. Myers is simply this year’s shiny new object that everybody wants and, therefore, the scenario that he is “available” or “being dangled” is constructed because there isn’t much to talk about. And, as long as we’re all at it, isn’t it fun to theorize a scheme that places him on (name your team) in exchange for (name the player you want off your team)?

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    • Atari says:

      Probably true. This is the fun of the Hot Stove season though. I can see actual organizations doing this though , just to see what is out there. Not that this has projected to actual serious talks but just throw it out there, then a baseball writer was tipped off and now all hell broke loose.

      People do it in fantasy too. Throw out feelers to the rest of the league. There may be that one person in your league that is fanatical about a player and may be willing to grossly overpay, at whih point discussions become more serious.

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    • J. Francoeur says:

      A “new name every year”?

      I beg to differ. What consensus top-3 prospects have been rumored as trade bait… and with this level of ferocity, over the past decade? I can think of zero.

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      • LK says:

        You think there is a consensus that Myers is ahead of one of Profar, Bundy, or Taveras?

        I’d say Myers is consensus top-5, in which case one example of a top-5 prospect that was involved in trade discussions at several points would be Jesus Montero.

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      • Bubba Starling says:

        You need to stop commenting on Fangraphs and start working to improve at baseball! Talk to Domingo Ayala; he can help teach you how to hit for average.

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    • ph says:

      I hope you’re right. I want them to hold onto him UNLESS they can get a young MLB starter with #1 potential (Moore from TB)

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    • Chris says:

      Exactly. The Royals have spent more than should on Santana (I think the Guthrie deal is barely an overpay, if that) and of course, “more than they should” on Sanchez, but for one year deals. I’m still not sure what they were trying to do in acquiring these guys, but it’s on short leashes, regardless.

      (Question: They really didn’t want to test out Dan Haren, huh?)

      Who knows the source of the Wil Myers rumors, but I don’t see him part of any deal that brings back only 1-2 years of pitching the way that Melky Cabrera did.

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  18. danktrees says:

    getting Lester or shields makes you better every 5th day. swapping francoeur with Myers (if he’s major league ready) makes you better everyday.

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  19. Calvin says:

    One for one this makes as much sense as making Billy Butler your everyday CF. And a small-budget team can’t become a contender without great surplus value from cost-controlled players (see: tb). Making any offseason trade of cost-controlled players with potential for a couple of years of higher-payroll veterans is almost a guaranteed loss for a team in kc’s position.

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    • Paul says:

      They pretty much did this last year. People forget when they tried to use Frenchy in CF (even though his range in RF is well below average), Hosmer in right (whose range at 1B is well below average), and Will Clark Jr., aka Billy Butler at 1B during interleague. It was such a disaster in that first Colorado game that I think it only lasted a game or two. If you are ever surprised by something the Royals do, you’re either a drunk or just not paying attention.

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  20. Bill says:

    This is how the conversation goes…

    Moore: (rings Rays Sternberg) Stu! I need a pitcher and you’ve got some, who is for sale?
    Sternberg: Well, I’ll listen on pretty much anybody. What did you have in mind?
    Moore: Well, I’ve got Butler and Hosmer available, how about Hosmer for Shields?
    Sternberg: Hosmer is a nice batter, but he fields like my uncle. Butler looks like my uncle. If you want Shields, we’re going to have to talk Myers.
    Moore: ok, I’ll think about it, let me call my cheap ass owner to see if he can scrounge up some more pennies in the couch, I’ll call you back.

    *click*

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  21. KMav says:

    I don’t understand why there isn’t more Matt Moore for Wil Myers talk. That seems to me to be the most balanced trade of the Tampa possibilities.

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    • Tomcat says:

      Because with his team friendly deal Moore is worth more to TB than any other franchise

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    • SKob says:

      Hellickson makes more sense than Moore. Matt Moore spent a good part of last April and May figuring out how to pitch in the league. People seem to be discounting him as a top tier pitcher, but the majority of his games down the stretch were pretty filthy. He is pretty close to top tier already and his contract is ridiculous!

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      • KMav says:

        I am not discounting him as a top tier pitching prospect. But I am as a top tier MLB pitcher. He proved nothing last year except that he was slightly disapointing. Did he get a bit better the second half, yes. But only a bit better. His worst month was September. I still love him as a pitching prospect btw. But I also love Wil Myers.

        As for his contract, he will make more the next 7 years then Wil Meyers likely will. People can keep yapping about his contract all they want, but if Myers is the equal player and makes less then Moore, who cares what Moore makes? Its about comparing his control years to the player he would be traded for, in this case Myers.

        Also, when they both become free agents in 7 years, Meyrs will be 29 and Moore will be 31. There is an advantage for a team in having their guy become a free agent at 29, instead of 31.

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  22. Average_Casey says:

    This doesn’t surprise me as this is Dayton Moore we are talking about. When I heard that the Royals were interested in James Paxton, I figured that a swap of Paxton for Myers was easily possible because Dayton Moore. Now, is that fair, probably not from what I have heard but Moore isn’t exactly known for being brilliant.

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  23. KCDaveInLA says:

    Brian McRae said it best years ago on KC radio – what’s been the common thread throughout all of KC’s losing? The Glass family.

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  24. Nick says:

    It’s pretty amusing to see how poor people’s gauge is of prospects before the annual top 100s come out. Bogaerts is going to be a consensus top 15, and will be top 10 on many lists. He’s not getting thrown in to sweeten any trade, if he gets traded it’s pretty much straight up for a star caliber big leaguer.

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  25. Nick says:

    The Red Sox would die laughing if KC offered Myers straight up for Bogaerts.

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  26. BillWallace says:

    I have both Shields and Lester with about $14-15M surplus value on their contracts. Myers is certainly a top 10 prospect right now, probably in the top 5, which puts his value around $45-50M or so. While there’s an enormous margin of error in those numbers, clearly there’s a mismatch here.
    Either 1) these reports are incomplete or bullshit
    or 2) The Royals are quite dumb.
    I say both are equally likely.

    This is beside the fact that as Dave noted, there’s no reason for the Royals to trade an outfielder.

    One possibility that involves the Royals being smart. They have decided that Myers is overrated because he strikes out too much and won’t become an elite hitter, and they are fishing for 95 cents on the dollar while his value is at its peak.

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    • Paul says:

      Agree, especially with the part about the Royals being dumb. Of course, there is no debate on this. They added aging minor league free agent RELIEF PITCHER coming off TJ to the 40 man roster instead of Wil Myers. Does anybody really think some team is going to value Myers more because he won’t take a roster spot? Any team that trades for him would plan to play him from day 1 anyway. Plus, with a top 5 prospect, for any team but the Royals the roster spot is just irrelevant.

      This team has absolutely no idea how to develop power hitters. Wil Myers did it on his own, and they just can’t have that. I’m am dead serious that they prefer to have a player who allows the hitting coach to change his swing to turn him into a hacking singles machine rather than challenge this insane organization’s posture especially on hitting.

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      • UZR is a Joke says:

        They didn’t add him because they didn’t need to add him until next year for Rule 5 purposes, and they aren’t going to call him up day 1 because you get an extra season if you call him up day 20.

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  27. budman3 says:

    Royals have to get an OF’er + pitching back for Myers. JMatt Moore and Matt Joyce(7.4 WAR last three years), Brandon Guyer and Enny Romero for Myers, Cain/Dyson and a mid/low prospect.

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    • AndrewFriedman says:

      Can people stop trying to include Matt Moore in trade talks. He’s more untouchable to the Rays than Salvador Perez is to the Royals. If Price/Shields/Hellickson/Niemann/Cobb/Archer isn’t enough to entice a buyer then I don’t know what is.

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      • KMav says:

        Why is Matt Moore untouchable, but Wil Myers is not?

        Last year, Moore was ranked as the 3rd best prospect in baseball. This year, Wil Myers will likely be ranked as the 3rd best prospect in baseball. Top ten hitting prospects have been proven to have a lot more value then top ten pitching prospects. Moore this year was disappointing in the majors. He put up just a 1.2 or 2.3 WAR season depending on what WAR system used. An xFIP of just 4.35. He was just solid. He is already 23 and a half. And he has already used up 1 year of that good contract, unlike Myers.

        I think they should have equal value and its a fair trade for both teams.

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      • Antonio bananas says:

        Moore is locked in. No arbitration uncertainty. Incredibly team friendly.

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      • KMav says:

        The next 7 years, Moore will make 36 million dollars. How much will Myers make the next 7 years? If he misses the first 2 months of next year, probably less then 36 million dollars. And this is even if he becomes a star.

        Even if its a couple of million more, so what. Its much more important how good they are then a million or two difference. And I see them as equal. Shoot, the two year age difference is a plus for Myers to consider that is more important then any contractual advantage, which let me add I don’t even believe there is.

        Also, I am in agreement with Dave Cameron that the Royals should not be that determined to trade away Myers or any of their players. They still need out fielders .They are still a year or two away. Its the Rays that should be more desperate for a trade of a starter for a young hitter. They are the team that is maybe one trade away. They are the team that is imbalanced. The deal actually makes more sense from the Rays perspective.

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  28. Rays says:

    Maybe the Royals are planning to use Francour 1 more year since they are locked into his bad contract & then hope Bubba Starling can handle RF?? Thoughts?

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  29. Slats says:

    How do we know if the Royals really are looking at trading Myers?

    Sounds like a BS rumor to me.

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  30. garrett says:

    Matt moore is the arguably the best young pitching prospect in baseball with a team friendly deal to a small market club just like the Royals. The deal mentioned for moore above is absured.

    Friedman and rays fans would laugh at that offering of players even if it was just for moore. Then throw in Joyce Guyer and Romero??? seriously?? I AF wouldn’t do matt moore for myers straight up. Why would he?

    Also myers for Shields straight up? come on. Matt Garza netted the cubs top 2 prospects and more and he was a #3 Shields is a #1, 1 year removed from being 3rd in the Cy young. Do you really think AF would trade a #1 pitch iwth 2 years left of team controll, paying him well under his value, for a (yes he’s great) but unproven mlb prospect?
    Please tell me how that deal would make any sense for the smartest GM in baseball to make.

    Myers is a great prospect but royals fans are seriously overvaluing him if they think he is going to get Shields/moore and more prospects.

    A more realistic deal would be hellickson for myers straight up. I know helli has already lost 2 years of team control but the royals are the ones trying to make the deal not the rays. The royals will have to stretch if they want a deal not the rays.

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    • chuckb says:

      Dylan Bundy says hello.

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    • Chris says:

      “Myers is a great prospect but royals fans are seriously overvaluing him if they think he is going to get Shields/moore and more prospects.”

      I don’t think this is generally the mindset necessarily, but what good is Shields going to do for the Royals the next two years that spending the next 6+ of Myers is worth? It’s not a smart trade for the Royals. Smart for the Tigers, smart for the White Sox maybe, not smart for the Royals.

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    • Bill says:

      agree, moore already has 1 mlb season under his belts, he’s proven himself. if he lowers the walk rate you are looking at a sub 3era strikeout king, a proper ‘comp’ on him is david price. There age 23 seasons are below, IP, K/9 and bb/9

      128, 7.15, 3.79
      177, 8.88, 4.11

      Myers is a nice player, but he could be alex gordon, who himself is a nice player but not a star much less a superstar. Or he could be mr. overrated, eric hosmer. Brandon Belt is another in this ilk.

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  31. fuster says:

    we’ll be glad to send them Brett Gardner, Phil Hughes and some loose change for Myers.

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  32. aj says:

    Royals could get a ton for Myers any of you saying shields or lester is too much are nuts. Myers is almost priceless, royals Should of stole the cubs ideal this winter :-( they got Baker and feldman for less then Santana lol. dumpster divi g starters is way smarter then overpaying for average ones sigh royals starting 9 can be great next year just a shame.

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    • jason B says:

      “any of you saying shields or lester is too much are nuts”

      Is anybody saying that?! I think nearly everyone agrees that such a 1-for-1 trade shouldn’t be appealling to KC in the least.

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  33. Kazinski says:

    The Royals rotation is so bad they could offer Kevin Millwood 5x what make with the Mariners last year (1m on a minor league deal) and have pitcher that would had led their staff in fWAR (2.0), and would have been 3rd in innings (161). Millwood is considering retirement, but KC is a lot closer to Georgia than Seattle, and they might be able to entice him for another go.

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  34. garrett says:

    “Is anybody saying that?! I think nearly everyone agrees that such a 1-for-1 trade shouldn’t be appealling to KC in the least.”

    I’m saying that.
    The rays tv contract is up next year. The deeper they go into the post season the more money they will net in their new deal. Shields in their rotation gives the rays a better chance at making a run into the post season. All prospect status and trade value aside the rays are making a push this year and this trade won’t happen.

    On a trade value note, the rays consistantly trade big name guys for several prospects which always includes a pitcher because they love to stock up on pitching. Looking at the trades Andrew Friedman has made in the past trading an ace and several prospects for one high level prospect is not his game. The idea that shields will go anywhere without netting a pitcher in the deal is not realistic, it’s not the rays style.

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