To review, the big news tonight is that the Royals have traded their #1 prospect (the world's #1 prospect really) to the Tampa Bay Rays for James Shields and Wade Davis. The Royals will be sending "other prospects" and the Rays will be returning cash or a player-to-be-named-later. But they won't be returning Kansas City's heart any time soon.
One surprisingly great way to measure the potential of a trade is to take the pulse of people that know what they're talking about, which is funny because one might think GMDM was backing off after the internet lost its collective shit last week when the trade (oh god is this already in the past tense?) really started picking up steam.
It's also a great way to embarrass people that don't qualify their statements or provide enough caveats to worm out of really terrible predictions and/or horrendous analysis. With that in mind, let's take the temperature of this thing.
Jon Paul Morosi has a good question, which my gut says "just in case," but my mind says "DAMMIT."
So ... Why did Royals tender Luke Hochevar a contract?— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 10, 2012
Jeff Sullivan points out the absurdity of the Royals sending more than one of anything back to the Rays:
My favorite part of Shields/Davis for Myers/other prospects is the other prospects— Jeff Sullivan (@LookoutLanding) December 10, 2012
Rany Jazayerli is obviously the go-to guy here, both because he's the most outspoken Royals fan and he's really damn smart. But also he's really damn outspoken:
Sitting here, just wondering whether the Royals have ripped out the future of their franchise to go for it in 2013. Fun!— Rany Jazayerli (@jazayerli) December 10, 2012
That's probably what every Royals fan is wondering, Rany. Everyone said, "Royals need 3 starters!" Well now you got 'em chumps. Your rotation now looks like this: Shields, Santana, Guthrie, Davis, Chen/Door #5. Your future in right field now looks like this: _____________.
Remember that Myers won the Baseball America Player-of-the-Year Award this season?
Last 5 position players to win the award: Alex Gordon, Jay Bruce, Matt Wieters, Jason Heyward, and Mike Trout. Wil's close to a sure thing.— Rany Jazayerli (@jazayerli) December 10, 2012
Wil the Sure Thing Myers.
Shields ($10.5M) + Davis ($2.8M) + Hochevar ($4.4M) = $17.7 million, which is more than Anibal Sanchez will make. Savvy!— Rany Jazayerli (@jazayerli) December 10, 2012
#Royals for the Royals sake, I really hope the Player To Be Named Later is someone of value. If not, the price was really high for Shields.— Bernie Pleskoff (@BerniePleskoff) December 10, 2012
Enter the they-had-to-do-SOMETHING crowd:
Considering Royals haven't made playoffs since 1985, longest drought in MLB. They had to make this trade, even if meant losing Myers— Scot Gregor (@scotgregor) December 10, 2012
Dave Cameron, Fangraphs, Visionary:
Last year, Gio Gonzalez, Mat Latos, and Michael Pineda were traded for far less than James Shields just went for.Each had 4+ yrs left.— David Cameron (@DCameronFG) December 10, 2012
I don't want to get too far down the rabbit hole here, but basically everything is reading just like this. The Royals gave up a can't-miss prospect. But for what? 2 years of a pretty good pitcher. What's the big deal? Because Wil Myers is one of those once-every-10-year types, (supposedly), like Mike Trout or Derek Jeter or good Legend of Zelda games.
The problem that everybody is getting at, eventually, is the problem of the moral hazard. Quickly, a moral hazard occurs when one has a huge incentive to bet the farm but the cost of losing that bet is little more than a job. You see it a lot on Wall Street with megabanks making bad decisions because they know they're so big the Government can't let them fail (or risk taking down the whole economy with it).
Kinda the same thing here, but vastly more important. General Manager Dayton Moore has done just shitty-enough-of-a-job with basically zero expectations that he's pretty obviously close to losing his job. He has no incentive to wait around to 2015, 2016, 2017, and so on to find out if Wil Myers is Derek Jeter or just Alex Rodriguez because he'll probably be fired before then anyway.
Moral hazard FTW.— Joe Sheehan (@joe_sheehan) December 10, 2012
I do admire the Royals’ courage. For them to say this is a success, they have to make the playoffs in ’13 and/or ’14. Quite simple.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 10, 2012
There's no doubt Royals will be significantly better next year with Shields, Santana and Davis in rotation. But what about 5 years from now?— B.J. Rains (@BJRains) December 10, 2012
Why the fuck not trade your #1 prospect away, squeeze a couple years more out of the old ebeneezer in Arkansas (that's David Glass for you non Royals fans), and throw it all in? My immediate reaction is that either GMDM knows something we don't about Myers, he seriously believes the Royals can contend in 2013 and 2014, or he's playing with house money and wants to burn the place down on the way out. My money's on the latter two.