I knew it was coming.
For two weeks, as rumors swirled, I expected that one night, probably late int the evening, word would come that the Royals had traded their top prospect, outfielder Wil Myers. Likely for a starting pitcher. Almost certainly for one that had value, but still was too flawed to be an ace for the Royals.
So it was no surprise when, last night, as I was checking Twitter one last time before bed, the news was just breaking that Myers and others were headed to Tampa for James Shields and Wade Davis.
I did not like it.
And then it got worse.
In all the royals sent four players, two who are Major League ready, for one pitcher who is 31 and has been successful largely due to his home park and another who failed as a starter in that same park.
Twitter did not help, as pretty much every MLB analyst I follow, and I follow a lot, destroyed the Royals for making the deal. I stayed up way too late reading these reactions and got almost no sleep. All for a 90-loss team.
I (in)famously abandoned the Royals in December 1990, when they chose to sign Kirk Gibson, who was old and had never hit in Kansas City, over local native Joe Carter. We may have reached another of those moments in my support of the team.
I see value in Shields, but when you have one of the top five prospects in the game, who is under control for six cheap years, you have to do better. If you’re moving a chip like Myers, you must get a true #1. Not just a guy who is only a #1 because your staff is heinous. And you avoid like the plague guys like Davis, who seems an awful lot like Luke Hochevar or Kyle Davies, two other guys that could never figure it out no matter how many chances the Royals gave them.
The Royals settled. Even if Myers never turns into a star, if Jake Odorizzi never becomes a decent starter, if Mike Montgomery never figures it out, if Pat Leonard fizzles out in AA, this trade will likely be a loss for the Royals. Their rotation is better than last year. But that’s mostly because it was epically bad last year. The reboot has come with three starters over 30, one who is coming from an extreme pitchers park, one who has a bum wing, and one who was awful the first half of last year. The fourth new starter was an utter failure in two attempts to be a big league starter. And Hochevar might still get the ball every fifth day. For a team that was 16 games behind division champ Detroit last season, this isn’t enough to span that gap, or stay in the running for the Wild Card spots.
I will give Dayton Moore some credit for at least trying. And there are some baseball people who don’t believe this trade is as one-sided as I do. But it feels like, at best, a missed opportunity. And at worst, just the latest wrong move by a franchise that has had precious few right moves over the last 30 years.
I’m not running out to buy a Cincinnati, Detroit, or Washington hat yet. But it might be time to give my list of alternatives a closer look.