Two years ago the Royals dealt Baseball America Minor Leaguer of the Year Wil Myers in a controversial deal that netted them James Shields and Wade Davis. While the move was panned by many at the time, and even a year later when Myers won Rookie of the Year, in 2014 the move seemed largely vindicated by the Royals American League pennant. The fact Myers has again been traded after a disappointing 2014 season seems to serve as icing on the cake for those that supported Dayton's gamble.
So excuse Lee Judge if he does some gloating after the fact. Judge write that the Wil Myers trade is looking pretty good for the Royals right now, and reveals a few reasons why the Royals might have traded the promising young outfielder.
1.) During one spring training, there was a video made that featured Wil Myers and George Brett. The Royals Hall of Famer was going to show the Royals prospect how to put pine tar on a bat, but the Royals prospect started arguing … with George Brett … about pine tar. A small thing, but it might have indicated an attitude problem.
"Small thing" may be a bit of an overstatement. If Myers had never been traded and was an integral part of the Royals 2014 American League pennant-winning ballclub, this story would be evidence of his "feistiness" or "leadership." My god, he was confident enough in himself to challenge a Hall of Famer! What moxie!
But when he's dealt and stops hitting, it "might have indicated an attitude problem." Okay.
2.) While Myers was in the Rays minor-league system, he said he didn’t need a two-strike approach — he was a run a producer. Even though his team was asking him to adjust his swing once he had two strikes, Myers didn’t think it was necessary — and that definitely indicates an attitude problem.
Wil Myers hit .200/.255/.308 in 2013 with two strikes on him. That's not very good. Of course, no one hits well with two strike on them. The league as a whole hit .182/.250/.276 with two strikes. The 2013 Royals hit .194/.243/.265 with two strikes. At least for 2013, Myers was right. His numbers took a nosedive in 2014, but it probably wasn't because of his approach with two strikes, it was his approach in other situations.
Of course, this kind of refusal to listen to coaching advice is not unique to Wil Myers. There have been rumors about Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas refusing to heed coaching advice, and Alex Gordon even was said to be stubborn about adjusting his swing early in his career.
3.) Nevertheless, Myers made it to the big leagues, and one day he was playing right field against the Royals. During that game, I saw Rays centerfielder David DeJesus moving Myers into the right position. I don’t know if that was a regular occurrence, but if it was, that means that Myers hadn’t studied the spray charts and wasn’t paying attention to his outfield coach.
Well that's just silly. Players talk to each other all the time about outfield positioning.
It may very well be that Wil Myers has a legitimate attitude problem. But these anecdotes don't really point to any evidence of this. More likely, Dayton Moore was under a lot of pressure to start winning, and made a gamble that worked out. Wil Myers may ultimately be a flawed player who strikes out too much, but if he is, that's the reason the Royals win the trade, not because of any perceived attitude problems that may or may not exist.