Wil Myers

The Royals trade Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi to Tampa Bay for James Shields and Wade Davis

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UPDATE: Yes, this is much bigger. The Royals have made an official announcement:

My first take was that this was a “big, big gamble.” Now that we know we know that the Royals have thrown in Jake Odorizzi, it goes from “gamble” to “malpractice.”

Odorizzi pitched two games in Kansas City in 2012, but his work on the farm has been quite nice. In 145 total innings across Double and Triple-A in 2012, Odorizzi posted a 3.03 ERA and 135/50 K/BB ratio. And he’s just 22.

To sum up: the Royals gave up a top slugging prospect and a guy who figures to be a number three starter — each of whom are under team control for six years — for a veteran starter who is under team control for two years max, and a swingman who, one would assume, the Royals want to start again.

I think it’s quite possible that this trade makes the Royals better in the short term and, likewise, may make the Rays worse in the short term. But it’s not going to make the Royals good enough to seriously contend in that short term and really kills them in the long term.

Not liking this deal from the Royals perspective. Not liking it at all.

11:12 PM: This is just breaking and we don’t have all the details yet, but Mark Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times is reporting that the Rays have traded James Shields and Wade Davis to the Kansas City Royals for outfield prospect Wil Myers.  Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, however, is reporting that there is more to this deal than just those three players and it may involve several more players.

Not that it isn’t large already. Any trade involving Myers, who is one of the top prospects in all of baseball, is a big deal. Myers, who turns 22 on Monday, hit .314/.387/.600 with 37 homers and 109 RBI between Double- and Triple-A last season. He strikes out a lot, but is one of the stronger power prospects to come around in a long time.

Shields needs no introduction. He’s a seven-year veteran who went 15-10 this past season with a 3.52 ERA. While never a Cy Young caliber pitcher, he has tossed over 200 innings a year — sometimes a lot more than 200 in a year — every season since 2007.  Davis was once a starter but was moved to the pen last year and it did him wonders: 70 and a third innings in 54 appearances in which he posted a 2.43 ERA and struck out 11.1 batters per nine innings. He seems a way better bet as a reliever than being turned back into a starter, if Kansas City has that in mind.

Overall, though, this is a big, big gamble for the Royals. They are sending away a truly elite power prospect who has yet to log a day of major league service time for two veteran pitchers, neither of which is a real game-changer for them, even if it does make their pitching more respectable. It strikes me, though, that adding Will Myers to the lineup would do more to improve the Royals’ outlook than adding a reliever and a number two starter.

Report: Teams reluctant to gamble on Cliff Lee

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.

Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.

In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.

Orioles reconsidering signing Yovani Gallardo

Yovani Gallardo
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.

Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.

Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.

The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.

Freddy Garcia is calling it a career

Screenshot 2016-02-07 at 10.16.43 AM
Elsa/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.

Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.

“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”

Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.

Video: 2016 will be a season to remember

Carlos+Correa+Houston+Astros+v+Arizona+Diamondbacks+Ctyu5RiU3SWl
Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.

It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.