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

78 Comments

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.

Major League Baseball orders balls stored in climate controlled rooms for some reason

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated reports that Major League Baseball will mandate that teams store baseballs in “an air-conditioned and enclosed room[s]” this season. He adds that the league will install climate sensors in each room to measure temperature and humidity during the 2018 season, with such data being used to determine if humidors — like the ones being used in Colorado and Arizona — are necessary for 2019.

This move comes a year after Major League Baseball’s single season, league-wide home run record was shattered, with 6,105 dingers being hit. It also comes after a year in which two different studies — one by Ben Lindbergh and Mitchel Lichtman for The Ringer, and another by FiveThirtyEight’s Rob Arthur — found evidence that baseballs were altered at some point around the middle of the 2015 season which coincided with home run numbers spiking in the middle of that year, quite suddenly.

Also coming last year: multiple player complaints about the baseball seeming different, with pitchers blaming a rash of blister problems stemming from what they believed to be lower seams on the baseballs currently in use than those in use in previous years. Players likewise complained about unusually smooth and/or juiced baseballs during the World Series, which some believe led to a spike of home runs in the Fall Classic.

To date, Major League Baseball has steadfastly denied that the balls are a problem, first issuing blatantly disingenuous denials,  and later using carefully chosen words to claim nothing was amiss. Specifically, Major League Baseball claimed that the balls were within league specifications but failed to acknowledge that league specifications are wide enough to encompass baseballs which could have radically different flight characteristics while still, technically, being within spec.

Based on Verducci’s report, it seems that MLB is at least past the denial stage and is attempting to understand and address the issues about which many players have complained and which have, without question, impacted offense in the game:

Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday that MLB commissioned a research project after last season to study the composition, storage and handling of the baseballs. He said that investigation is not yet completed. “I’m not at the point to jump that gun right now,” he said about the findings.

The investigation is not yet completed, but the fact that the league is now ordering changes in the manner in which balls are handled before use suggests to me that the league has learned that there is at least something amiss about the composition or manufacture of the baseballs.

Major League Baseball is a lot of things, but quick to impose costs and changes of process on its clubs like this is not one of them. There is likely a good reason for it.