The James Shields Trade: Internet Reactions

Jason Miller

What do pundits think of the Royals going all-in?

Rob Neyer retracts his statement that this is the worst trade ever. But he still thinks its awful.

There's a problem with the Royals-in-the-playoffs scenario, too. Chief among them, Shields isn't exactly an ace. He's 30, and his ERA's have gone up and down, but fundamentally he's been the same pitcher for the last three seasons. And he's not great. He controls the strike zone well enough and he's durable, but he gives up a lot of home runs and he's gotten a and his ballpark.

There are other details, of course. Jake Odorizzi might be better than Wade Davis over the next five years, if not immediately. Mike Montgomery might jump-start his career, which hasn't been going well since 2010. Patrick Leonard might become a good major-league hitter by, say, 2015 or '16. If one or two of those things happen, it won't matter what Davis does; it will be a terrible trade for the Royals. Again, unless they reach the playoffs and Shields plays a big part.

Rany Jazeryli is a bit more succint.

This sucks.

Joe Posnanski thinks the trade is terrible and reeks of desperation but thinks through how the move could work for Kansas City.

So, that's how it could work. The Royals' young offense scores runs, the Royals' young bullpen shuts people down in the late innings, and the makeshift veteran rotation with James Shields, Jeremy Guthrie, Ervin Santana, Wade Davis and Luke Hochevar or Bruce Chen or somebody lead the Royals into contention in 2013 for the first time in a decade, maybe leads them into September contention for the first time in more than 20 years. It's a longshot hope, maybe, but you don't understand -- for Kansas City fans, any faint sign of hope that the Royals are trying to win now, today, this minute, is a rose in the desert. The Royals have decided that it's time -- now or never time -- and if they can finally win just a little bit, then the bulk of their fans will likely agree that this trade was worth it no matter how Will Myers and the others turn out. It's been so long, too long, since the Royals have mattered. Now, maybe, possibly, conceivably, they will matter.

But we'll know soon if the move was a failure.

The one unquestionable thing about this trade from a Royals fan perspective is this: They won't have to wait five years to find out if it was a good one. If the Royals are 15 games back and wallowing in fourth place in July, it was an absolute disaster. And jobs will be lost.

Sam Mellinger at the Star agrees its a panic move, but at least the Royals are trying.

The Royals still have a good farm system. Internally, they view Yordano Ventura and Kyle Zimmer as better pitching prospects than Odorizzi. And as several scouts around the sport have observed in recent weeks, Myers and Odorizzi will have to make multiple All-Star Games to accumulate more trade value than they have right now.

So this trade is not the unmitigated disaster some are calling it.

But it is a significant reach

Jay Jaffe doesn't see the Royals as contenders with this move.

While the trade isn’t a complete mismatch in terms of assets exchanged, it represents a fundamental misreading of the Royals’ current station. Coming off a 72-90 campaign, their 17th losing season in the past 18 years, they simply weren’t a front-of-the-rotation starter away from contention even when one factors in the other improvements they’ve made this winter, or the ones they can expect from a nucleus of young talent that itself serves as a reminder that success isn’t 100 percent guaranteed for Myers. Instead, the move expresses Moore’s desperation for positive results at the major league level.

Jeff Passan concedes it was a desperate move, but a necessary one.

If this whole thing blows up for Moore – if Perez doesn't develop into an MVP candidate and Hosmer or Moustakas don't grow and Francoeur continues to collect at-bats in right field – there's always the possibility of a talent-salvaging deal come 2014. For now, the Royals would prefer thinking about 2013 and how winning no longer seems like some far-fetched dream. The Royals believed they were one starter away from contention, and while it's easy to sneer at that – and maybe rightful – they justify the means because their vision of the end is so bright. Both on paper and in spreadsheet this trade is wrong, and yet the Royals were tired of sitting around and watching others make bold moves.

Dave Cameron at Fangraphs thinks the Royals mortgaged the farm to be mediocre.

The obvious comparison here is the Erik Bedard trade. Coming off an 88 win season, the Mariners decided to go for broke, shipping off prospects Adam Jones, Chris Tillman, Tony Butler, and Kam Mickolio along with reliever George Sherrill to acquire Bedard from the Orioles. The Mariners weren’t as close to winning as they thought they were, and after they won 61 games in 2008, the entire front office was fired and the organization went into a full scale rebuild. Bedard spent his two years in Seattle on and off the disabled list, while Jones has blossomed into one of the game’s best center fielders and Tillman continues to flash some potential as a young starter with a big league future. That trade is generally regarded as the worst prospects-for-veteran swap in recent history. This might be worse.

Reactions from MLB execs were mixed with some liking the Royals being bold, and others feeling like Dayton overpaid.

Two other personnel people were decidedly pro-Tampa Bay. "The Royals got owned on this one," said an NL executive, who marveled at Friedman's huge haul of young talent. Another National League talent evaluator praised Moore for his chutzpah, but not so much for his baseball judgment. "My initial view was basic shock that Dayton did this," the evaluator said, "especially with so much pitching on the free-agent market. But they have a hard time getting pitching there. They gave up a lot to go all-in, so I applaud the effort. But I'm still shocked."

Jeff Sullivan at Fangraphs takes a look at Wade Davis.

So Davis came to flourish as a reliever. Now it seems he’s going to be asked to go back to being a starter. Davis claims to prefer starting over relieving, so he’ll welcome this opportunity, but there’s reason for skepticism. In the past, Davis wasn’t a particularly effective starter. His success in relief seems strongly tied to velocity gains, which he’ll give back in the rotation. It’s not like he developed a better changeup in relief. It’s unlikely his fastball command is suddenly a strength. The same things that caused Davis to struggle before presumably still exist. He got good, probably, because he threw hard. Now he’s going to throw less hard. I’m not saying it isn’t worth trying, and I’m not saying it’s doomed to failure. Davis was a top prospect not long ago, and he has a broad-enough repertoire. It’s possible he gained valuable experience in the bullpen and better understands now how to put hitters away. He always struggled with that part of his game before. Maybe now he’ll be better able to reach back for something extra when he’s counting on a swing and miss. Maybe Davis won’t give back all of his strikeouts. Maybe Davis will be better.

Keith Law calls the trade a "heist" for Tampa Bay (INSIDER).

Rays fan Jonah Keri doesn't think its a terrible deal for the Royals.

Ken Rosenthal likes the the trade for the Royals because prospects sometimes fail.

People will crush the Royals. People always crush the Royals. But trust me, the Rays sure don’t feel like they won the trade.

Those bastards at Lookout Landing are mocking us.

If this backfires, or if the Royals simply underachieve, Dayton Moore will probably be out of a job as a general manager. He'd probably never get that job again, just as Bavasi won't, and just as Reagins won't. Moore, when removed, will presumably be replaced by someone smarter, and less willing to do something stupid. This might be Dayton Moore's last godawful trade. This might be baseball's last godawful trade. That's not certain, but the possibility exists.

What might have been.

Replacement Level Yankee has the early CAIRO numbers with the Shields trade factored in and has the Royals as an 84-win team, just four games out of a Wild Card spot.

And Jeremy is ready for the Plaza Parade.

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