Negotiations are a tricky thing. If you doubt this, just take a look at Congress.
Furthermore, as a Strat-O-Matic owner in the 70's, I played with the Royals, something I did for five years, giving me an irrational attachment to the Kansas City squad in much the same way I am inexorably tied to the Oakland Raiders. Just being born in Oakland, however, did that to me, as a eight-year old in 1961.
So, I was enjoying, somewhat vicariously, watching the Royals assemble a gaggle of prospects that potentially remind us of those great teams of the late 70's. Kind of like the Raiders were great in at the same time, but over the past 25 years neither franchise has produced more whispers than screams.
Which brings us to the Royals/Rays trade that gave Grantland's Rany Jazayerli fits, as he logically noted in his piece A Royal Blunder. And, though Rany lays out a solid case, I am not so sure.
For though I think it was tough for the Royals to give up their #1 prospect, and the 2012 Minor League Player of the year in Wil Myers, I think they made a move to try and progress, and even win in the best possible manner under the circumstances.
What they got for Myers was James Shields and Wade Davis, two pitchers who help change the complexion of the Kansas City rotation previously "anchored" by Ervin Santana and Jeremy Guthrie, and potentially supported by Bruce Chen, Luke Hochevar, and Luis Mendoza.
Surely Shields atop that group improves the visibility a lot, and though, as Jazayerli notes, Shields is not an ace, he has functioned as a #1 starter, and has delivered the goods.
Since Tampa has David Price, Matt Moore, and Jeremy Hellickson atop their rotation, along with Chris Archer, Jeff Niemann and Alex Cobb, the team could spare Shields, much like they could spare Matt Garza. In the interim, the Rays now can fill the slot vacated by the departed B.J. Upton, possibly as soon as 2013.
In addition the Rays got pitcher Jake Odorizzi and Mike Montgomery, either of whom could help in the near future, while the Royals have added a stable force atop their rotation (Shields averaged 14-11, 3.89 over 227 innings since joining the Rays rotation in 2006). Further, Shields has been on a contending team for the past five years, and though Santana could claim the same, the former Angel's mean since joining the Anaheim rotation, also in 2006, is not that far off from Shields with 14-12, 4.33 numbers over 214 averaged innings.
The deal is as we all know, that you have to give up something to get something, and whatever else be said, Shields is a bona fide major league starter, something no one else included in the trade has proved to be.
True, Myers could prove to be good. Maybe as good as Upton has been over the past six years with Tampa, however, should the new Ray perform like that, it would likely be a disappointment.
In the mean time the Royals took a step towards establishing themselves with a team that got a little older in the clubhouse and on the field, for with Salvador Perez, Johnny Giavotella, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, and Alex Gordon, where exactly was that to come from? If your answer is Billy Butler, no question he can hit, but as a DH, his influence is limited largely to the plate. Meaning yet another rookie presence is probably not the answer in KC this year, just like it was not in Washington last year, or even Tampa just as Shields began to come into his own.
Meaning Shields brings an attitude and expectation of winning that I think will benefit the young Royals, a lot more than adding more promising but still uproven prospects..
The reality to me is a trade is a good trade when each side gives up something of value, gets something of value in return, and then both walk away from the table with both hope and regret.
I think that is what we got. So did the Royals and Jays.