Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Hot Stove Update: KC Trades Wil Myers for Pitching

One of the unintended consequences of the Information Age is the amplification and, ironically, the siloing of opinion.  While the explosion of sources where people can get their news and read opinions gives the opportunity for exposure to new information and opinion, people have a strong tendency to migrate to a comfort zone.  As people congregate with like-minded believers, the increased ease of direct communication with multiple people at once often creates what has become known as an "echo chamber" amplifying these opinions as the pass back and forth without dissent.   We see it in our polarized political system, the explosion of passionate advocacy groups, religious fanaticism,  and we see it in matters as inconsequential as sports talk.  Herd and even mob mentalities can quickly arise and be difficult to contain.

The reaction to yesterday's trade by Dayton Moore of the KC Royal of uber-prospect Wil Myers along with prospects Jake Odirizzi and Mike Montgomery to the Tampa Bay Rays for James Shields and Wade Davis may be an example of that herd mentality noted above.  Moore has long been derided by the sabermetrically inclined in the  baseball commenting business and the ridicule and outright anger exploded with a vengeance.  The consensus of most internet baseball commenting sites was this is a terrible trade for the Royals.  Even more, the motivation for the trade was ascribed to Moore desperately trying to save his job, something he has since vehemently denied.  The outpouring of ridicule and anger, along with Moore's reaction to it recalls a long ago quote by Brian Sabean, "I am not an idiot!"

To be sure, Myers is the player with the highest and longest ceiling in the deal, which almost automatically makes it a questionable trade for the team giving up such a player.  It's not at all hard to see another Lou Brock for Ernie Broglio here, or George Foster for Frank Duffy, or Jeff Bagwell for Rick Anderson.  If Wil Myers develops into who he appears to have the potential for, Royals fans will be grinding their teeth at this one for a long time.

It's not like the Royals got nothing in return, though.  They have other highly rated prospects who arrived in the majors last year who have the potential to give them a strong offensive team in the near future.  What the Royals did not have was pitching.  It's not like the pitchers they got are both 1 year rentals either.  James Shields is a quality starter who may be even better moving out of the AL East beast.  His contract is controlled for 2 years.  Wade Davis was a top 3 prospect in a fairly loaded Rays system in the past.  He struggled to get established as a starter but blossomed as a reliever last year with a K/9 of 11+.  He has the size and stuff to move back into a rotation and at the very least eat a lot of innings.  At best, he can become a #2 or 3 starter. His contract is controlled out to 2017.  IMO, Wade Davis could well emerge as the key to the deal and nobody is paying him any attention at all.

As for Odirizzi, Montgomery and Leonard, Odirizzi might become a back of the rotation starter while Montgomery and Leonard are relatively low percentage lottery tickets.

Personally, I would have been hesitant to make this trade from the Royals' perspective, but the trade is not as lopsided as the blogosphere is making it out to be.   Baseball America polled 6 professional talent evaluators who disputed the conventional wisdom of the internet and several rival GM's have spoken up anonymously to defend the trade from Moore's position.

Around the League:  Remember Kevin Correia?  He just signed a 2 year contract with the Twins for $10 M.  I find that remarkable.  Kevin Correia has had one of the more anonymous careers I can recall, but he's stayed healthy and kept plugging away at the back end of weak rotations for several years now.  When he's done with this contract, at the age of 34, he will have earned a total of $23 M in his professional baseball career.  Good for him!  I like to see toilers like him take some financial security away from the game.


  1. I think almost all GMs have to be concerned about saving thier jobs, except maybe one.

  2. Dr. B,

    Good post...Talk about piling on with every weenie on the Internet trying to outdo each other with criticism of Kc's side of the trade..Ok, I exaggerate a little but it is indeed the Internet fanatics and/or propect mongers like Keith Law (who is more wrong than right in his evlauations) that scream about the stupidity of KC..However when you look at what real baseball people are saying (scouts and executives--instead of armchair evaluators (which most of us are)) you will see they are much more objective about the trade and see some very good possibilities from the Royals side....

    Personally, I have always had a problem when places like BA, Prospectus, etc, rank potential so much higher than production and reality...Sometimes it is justified..sometimes it isn't....Like Sabean with the pitchers he trades away, maybe the Royals see something in Myers that mades it easier for them to deal...as well as all the other ready prospects that they have....And they got a proven ML top of the rotation Horse as well as proven ML starter /reliever with good stuff that can go for years....all for potential...

    Good for both sides if you ask me...


  3. Matt LaPorta for CC Sabathia.

    Tim Alderson for Freddy Sanchez.

    Prospects are only potential. Major league players are known quantities.

    1. I think the marketplace adjusts so that when the potential is fulfilled, it's value exceeds that of the known quantity.

      The infrequency is balanced by the higher value.

      That's how it might work...in theory.

  4. I agree with you that Wade Davis is the sleeper and the key to the trade. I also am shocked nobody on the interwebz is talking about what the Rays are giving up or looking to what they are giving up in the near future. Instead is a re-hash of the Rays to be fair pretty amazing track record of getting low paid guys to throw into the field of battle. But I'm sorry, you do not replace a great #2 like Shields easily. And you are going to be hit by a train when Price goes, and he will go. The dirty little secret here is the Rays farm system is a mess, the result of 5 years of poor drafting. These prospects give them some backbone, but I would be very cautious taking another teams goods. I subscribe heavily to the notion that the developing team knows more about the player than any other team. That said, Myers will be a good to great MLB player. I personally think he'll only be good, but I'm basing that mainly on his contact rate and the fact he hasn't faced much good pitching yet in his career. I think it was time for the Royals to go compete, and they made an interesting trade. Moore doesn't deserve the scorn he got, and Friedman definitely doesn't deserve the lionizing he receives. This is a give-up by Freidman, and its just a prelude to a big give-up.

  5. The developing team knows better.

    Generally that's true with Sabean, and other competent GMs.

    In the specific case of the Beltran trade, was it

    1) We thought higher of Brown


    2) We thought higher of Wheeler but in order to secure that deal, we had to send him


    3) Brown will eventually prove to be the right one to keep???

    1. Generally, the Giants do not trade players on their "Do Not Trade" list. And judging by their success rate in trades (pretty much overwhelmingly in the Giants/Sabean favor), they have mostly followed that procedure.

      Doesn't mean that Sabean couldn't have brought the deal to management and asked them to make the call on the deal, and they could have broke their rule. Or he might have decided that on his own, don't know what their rules are for Sabean to have to have a trade OKed.

      Wheeler's success so far suggests that they were wrong, more so given Brown's struggles this season, but both still have a lot of time to make or not make the majors, in order to judge this deal.

  6. A study in The Hardball Times Annual last year analyzed the WAR of prospects on BA's Top prospect lists, looking at the ones kept vs. the ones traded, and the WAR was significantly higher for the prospects kept. Mistakes happen (like the Mets trade to Rays long ago, for example), but generally teams know how good their prospects are and trade accordingly.

    1. Thanks for citing a study that actually might back up my spitballin'!

  7. Big potential trade involved with D-backs (maybe Bauer!): http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2012/12/reds-indians-talking-shin-soo-choo-trade.html

    The three-team deal will see Shin-Soo Choo and Jason Donald going to the Reds, Didi Gregorius to the Diamondbacks, and Drew Stubbs plus an Arizona pitcher going to the Indians, a source tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Patrick Corbin or Trevor Bauer will likely be the Arizona pitcher going to Cleveland, Rosenthal tweets.

    1. Would Kevin Towers either make his trades or go on a 2 months cruise, please?

    2. wow.

      snakes soured on bauer quick...cost them a ton of caishe

      was looking forward to seeing him pitch at the belle...oh well


    3. Sure did sour fast. That is a scouting failure, big time.

      So the Reds are apparently going to send Choo out to CF. And bat leadoff. Wow. That could get interesting.

    4. Trade has been completed, even bigger than above: http://sports.yahoo.com/news/choo-reds-bauer-indians-3-024443555--mlb.html;_ylt=ApNcBQsvK6ovyqruRweJRHPsYcp_;_ylu=X3oDMTRxbzNoNXE2BGNjb2RlA3ZzaGFyZWFnMnVwcmVzdARtaXQDTWl4ZWQgTGlzdCBOZXdzIEZvciBZb3UEcGtnAzdhYjFkOTU2LWM3N2YtMzZiOS1hNzkxLTE3YzdhZjM5MmZhZgRwb3MDMgRzZWMDbmV3c19mb3JfeW91BHZlcgM5NGM2MmJmMy00NDFhLTExZTItYmYzMy0wNDUxOTY4NjA1MzU-;_ylg=X3oDMTM0cXBpcjM2BGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDMDM1NzUzMTAtNTVkNy0zNjhkLThiNDYtZDNhYzY0YjE0MzFiBHBzdGNhdANtbGJ8YmlnbGVhZ3Vlc3RldwRwdANzdG9yeXBhZ2U-;_ylv=3

      Wow, that's some URL Yahoo has...

      Final tally:

      Indians get CF Drew Stubbs from Reds, Trevor Bauer, Matt Albers, and Bryan Shaw from D-backs.
      Reds get Shin-Soo Choo, Jason Donald, and $3.5M from the Indians, and D-backs get Tony Sipp and Lars Anderson (another failed big-time prospect) from the Indians. The D-backs also get good (I guess, they write like he is) SS prospect Didi Gregorious from the Reds.

    5. I guess just because you changed your pitching mechanics to look like Lincecum pitching, that don't make you Big Time Jimmy Tim. :^) Maybe the Giants can get him in a couple of years and have Tim's dad fix him up. :^D

  8. Wow, good trade for Cinci upgrading their OF.. I like Choo as a hitter. Didn't know he can CF though.

    Good trade for Cleveland too, since they probably were going to lose Choo to FA. They get a young SP Bauer and 2 hard throwing relievers from the Dbacks (Shaw, Albers). The best way to get competitive is to acquire good young arms.

    It seems like the DBACKS overpaid to get that SS Gregorius.. I admit I don't know much about him..