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.

Diamondbacks mulling over moving Yasmany Tomas to left field

Arizona Diamondbacks' Yasmany Tomas (24) blows a gum bubble during the third inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs, Friday, May 22, 2015, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
AP Photo/Matt York
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After trading Ender Inciarte to the Braves as part of the Shelby Miller deal, Yasmany Tomas will go into 2016 as a regular in the Diamondbacks’ lineup. Signed to a six-year, $68.5 million contract in December of 2014, Tomas batted .273 with nine home runs and a .707 OPS over 426 plate appearances during his first season in the majors last year while struggling defensively between third base and right field. Third base is out as a possibility at this point, but the Diamondbacks are mulling over another defensive change for him.

According to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale said Friday that the club has discussed moving Tomas to left field and David Peralta to right.

“We’re definitely talking about it,” Hale said. “(Outfield coach) Dave McKay and I, (General Manager Dave Stewart) and (Chief Baseball Officer) Tony (La Russa), we think it might be best to switch them around.”

When the third base experiment flopped, the Diamondbacks put Tomas in right because they felt he would be the most comfortable there. The metrics weren’t kind to him. He’ll now have a full spring training to work on things if the club decides to make a change. Peralta isn’t the defender that Inciarte was, but he’s better than Tomas, so it’s understandable why the Diamondbacks would change their alignment.

Tomas is likely to be a liability no matter where he plays, but the Diamondbacks won’t mind as much if his bat begins to meet expectations. For a team with designs on the postseason, he’s a big key for this lineup.

Cubs, Jake Arrieta avoid arbitration at $10.7 million

Jake Arrieta
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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The Associated Press is reporting that the Cubs and starter Jake Arrieta have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a $10.7 million salary for the 2016 season. That marks the highest salary on a one-year deal for a pitcher with four years of service, the AP notes. Arrieta and the Cubs were set to go before an independent arbitrator but now can simply focus on the season ahead.

Arrieta, 29, is in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. He had filed for $13 million while the Cubs countered at $7.5 million. The $5.5 million gap was the largest among players who did not come to terms with their respective teams by the January deadline. The $10.7 million salary is $450,000 above the midpoint between the two submitted figures.

Arrieta won the National League Cy Young Award for his performance this past season, narrowly edging out Zack Greinke, then with the Dodgers. Arrieta led the majors with 22 wins, four complete games, and three shutouts. With that, he compiled a 1.77 ERA and a 236/48 K/BB ratio across 229 innings.

Once a top prospect in the Orioles’ minor league system, Arrieta struggled in the majors but found immediate success with the Cubs in 2013 after the O’s traded him along with Pedro Strop in exchange for Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman.

Giants sign Conor Gillaspie to a minor league deal

Los Angeles Angels third baseman Conor Gillaspie is unable to hold on to the ball after catching a grounder hit by Kansas City Royals' Lorenzo Cain in the fourth inning of a baseball game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Friday, Aug. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)
AP Photo/Colin E. Braley
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Per Baseball America’s Matt Eddy, the Giants have signed infielder Conor Gillaspie to a minor league deal. Gillaspie was selected by the Giants in the supplemental round of the 2008 draft, then was traded to the White Sox in February 2013.

Gillaspie, 28, hit a meager .228/.269/.359 with four home runs and 24 RBI in 253 plate appearances between the White Sox and Angels during the 2015 season. Almost all of his playing time has come at third base but he can also play first base if needed.

The Giants, thin on depth, will allow Gillaspie to audition in spring training for a spot on the 25-man roster.

Joe Nathan plans to pitch in 2016

Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Joe Nathan throws against the Chicago White Sox in the ninth inning of a baseball game in Detroit Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
AP Photo/Paul Sancya
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Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that free agent reliever Joe Nathan, recovering from Tommy John surgery, plans to pitch in 2016 according to his agent Dave Pepe. According to Pepe, Nathan’s workouts are “going well” and the right-hander is “definitely planning on playing this year.”

Nathan, 41, got the final out on Opening Day (April 6) against the Twins before going on the disabled list with a flexor strain in his right elbow, causing him to miss the next 161 games. He will likely be able to contribute out of the bullpen in late May or early June if he has no setbacks. On a minor league deal or incentive-laden major league deal, Nathan could make for a low-risk gamble.

Over a 15-season career that dates back to 1999 (he did not pitch in the majors in 2001 or 2010), Nathan has 377 saves with a 2.89 ERA and a 967/340 K/BB ratio over 917 innings.