KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s been a long time since the Kansas City Royals have been the big topic of discussion around Christmas time, but the team’s major trade – which saw them send one of the most highly-regarded prospects in team history to Tampa Bay in exchange for the team’s biggest Achilles heel in starting pitching – has baseball fans talking about next season.
On Sunday night, the Royals sent outfielder Wil Myers, who hit .314 with 37 home runs last season with the Royals’ Double-A and Triple-A affiliates in 2012, and pitcher Jake Odorizzi, who went 11-3 with a 2.93 ERA at Triple-A in 2012, to the Rays in exchange for starting pitcher James Shields and reliever Wade Davis.
Shields, an All-Star in 2011, posted a 15-10 record with a 3.52 ERA in 2012. Davis – a converted former starter – finished the season with a 3-0 mark and a 2.42 ERA.
For Royals fans at Johnny’s Tavern in the Power & Light District, the trade was the hot topic.
“I believe that this is the right move- only time will tell. We’ll see,” said Royals fan Rick Grimm.
Royals fan and Johnny’s Tavern managing partner Nick McMillian says that he hated to see Myers go, but it was a move that the team may have had to make.
“I just hated to see someone that could be homegrown like that leave,” said McMillian. “However in baseball especially with the economics, being in Kansas City we had to make some kind of move and I think this does definitely make us relevant the next two years.”
In a press conference at Kauffman Stadium on Monday, Royals GM Dayton Moore says that the move wasn’t an easy one to make, but it does make the team stronger.
“We don’t want to trade Wil Myers, but you have you have to make those types of deals if you’re going to get quality back,” said Moore. “You agonize over all the deals you make because there’s no certainty that they’re going to work in your favor, and you want to make a great a baseball deal, you want both organizations to benefit and I feel in this case that has happened.”
Moore says that he isn’t looking back now, and is instead focusing on Shields – who led the majors in complete games and shutouts in 2012 – and Davis, who Moore says could be converted to a starting role.
Fans, who have been waiting over a quarter century for the Royals to make a playoff appearance, are just hoping that the trade pays off with wins.
“I’m pretty excited for the next couple of years here I think it will definitely make us a contender with a chance to make the playoffs,” said McMillian. “Just pray that (starting outfielder Jeff) Francoeur can hit the ball. That’s what I’m doing.”