10 more things about the big trade
Here are 10 additional and residual reactions to the trade that sent James Shields and Wade Davis (and a player to be named or cash) to the Royals, for prospects OF Wil Myers, RHP Jake Odorizzi, LHP Mike Montgomery and 3B Patrick Leonard:
* Shields, who was the leader of the staff, leaves a large void, not just from how he pitched but the example he set.
“James is a true professional pitcher and we’re going to miss his contributions on and off the field,’’ Friedman said. “He can be the ace of a staff and a true leader who makes all those around him better. His departure leaves a void that definitely can not be filled over night. He’s been a key part of the success we’ve had over the last five years, and I’d like to think his impact is going to have a lasting impression and the work ethic that he helped to instill in them.''
* None of the acquired players may be on the 2013 opening day roster, but Rays exec VP Andrew Friedman said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if Myers, Odorizzi and Montgomery help them win games in 2013. Spring training will be key as the front office and major-league staff get a look at them.
* David Price, of course, had some of the more interesting reaction on his @DAVIDprice14 Twitter account:
-On an initial report of the deal: "Lies!!!!!"
-Then later: "Guys guys guys there's been a huge misunderstanding...whenever we all wake up tomorrow Shields and WD40 will still be my teammates..."
* ESPN's Keith Law loved the deal from the Rays perspective, calling it a heist. "a potential franchise-making deal that should allow the Rays to continue their run of contention on a dime for several years as they acquire a centerpiece bat in Myers, a potential mid-rotation starter in Jake Odorizzi, and two other prospects.'' Also, he said it was the kind of deal that is likely to get Royals GM Dayton Moore fired.
* Friedman said talks with the Royals started in late October/early November in different scenarios, taking on what he called, “a lot of different life forms.’’ The deal grew, as Friedman initially didn’t plan to trade two of his eight potential starters, and this format gained momentum Thursday and Friday. Along the way, Friedman acknowledged they talked to a lot of different teams about a lot of different things – “some were kind of triple bank shots that had a lower probability of happening.’’
* There was definitely a financial element to the deal, as the Rays saved at least $20-million in salaries and buyouts to Shields and Davis.
“As you know we’re always cognizant of our financial situation and we’re managing it with every transaction we make, whether it s a trade like this or it’s signing a player to a contract like we did with Evan (Longoria) just a little bit ago,’’ team president Matt Silverman said. “We run this team as if we’re balanced on the head of a pin, and there’s very little margin for error. I’d say zero margin for error. We’ve accepted that, we understand that and it factors into all the decisions we make.
“As Andrew said, this isn’t an easy one. None of them are easy, but when you’re talking about two guys who have the history with this franchise, two guys who are so additive to our current club, it’s a tough decision to make. But it’s one that we feel that we have to make as we look ahead for the next several years trying to sustain the success that we’ve had.’’
* Myers turns 22 today, so it should be an interesting birthday. He is from High Point, N.C., attending Wesleyan Christian Academy, passing on an offer from South Carolina to sign with the Royals for $2-million. He signed as a catcher and was behind the plate through the 2010 season before moving to the outfield. He can also play third.
* Dealing two homegrown pitchers who played a key role in their success was tough. "Personally I think this is the most difficult trade we've made to date," Friedman said. "Both guys were drafted and developed here, they've been key players in this organization's turnaround and they're both really high-quality people. It's a painful loss for our club, but I'm confident in our resilience and the talent that will be returning to the field next season."
* As much as Shields wanted to stay with the Rays, he knew the phone call might come. "This was it,'' he said. "I thought I might be able to squeeze in one more year, but that was kind of being selfish. ... I’m excited to go over there, but this is definitely a sad day for me and my family. I’ve been here 12 years. We made this our second home, and we’re definitely going to miss it. I have a lot of good memories here and the fans treated me as good as possible.’’
* With Shields and Davis traded, the Rays have a stating core of Cy Young Award winner David Price, Jeremy Helllickson, Matt Moore, Jeff Niemann (who is coming off injury), Alex Cobb and Chris Archer, plus Odorizzi.