Sunday, December 17, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays should promote Myers now

ST. PETERSBURG

It's time.

The Rays should do it today. They should do it now.

Call up Wil Myers from the minors.

Bring the kid up from Triple-A Durham, put him in rightfield and let the future star go to work on the future right now in the present.

The Rays traded James Shields, one of the best pitchers in franchise history, to the Royals to get this can't-miss prospect. It's time for Myers to start not missing.

Is he ready? We won't know until he gets here, but he certainly appears to be. After a slow start this season, Myers is again looking like he did in 2012, when he was the minor league player of the year. He went into play Thursday with a .283 average, 13 homers and 54 RBIs in 60 games.

Everyone agrees that Myers needed to start the season in the minors. The Rays wanted to see how he handled a little bit of failure in Triple A. Well, he went through a rough patch and emerged on the other side as, once again, a ferocious slugger and one of the best prospects in the game.

Look, there are no guarantees here. Myers is 22. Just because he is ripping up Triple A doesn't mean he will do the same in the big leagues. He still has issues against right-handed pitching. He still strikes out an awful lot. He is still learning how to be a good outfielder.

And, I get it, the Rays don't want to mess this up. The theory that it's better to call up a prospect a month too late than a day too early is a sound one. Plus, you're not going to bring him up for a look-see. If you bring him up, you have to stick with him, playing him every day, preferably in the same spot in the lineup and at the same spot in the field.

But it's now to the point where you have to ask, just how much better is he going to get beating up on minor-league pitching?

He has played 159 games (pretty much one full season) in Triple A and has put up dazzling numbers: a .296 average with 37 homers and 133 RBIs. Eventually, you just have to make that leap of faith.

The Nationals did it with Bryce Harper. The Angels did it with Mike Trout. The Orioles did it with Manny Machado. And the Dodgers just did it with Cuban sensation Yasiel Puig.

This isn't to say Myers will be as good as any of those players, but we will never know until he is actually in the bigs.

So why now?

Even though the Rays offense has been just fine this season, there are subtle moments lately when the bats are missing that special something. Myers could provide that spark.

Besides, wouldn't you rather bring him up now when the offense isn't in a tailspin? The Rays offense, at the moment, doesn't need a savior. Myers wouldn't be expected to carry the offense.

Plus, a team stumbling around in fourth place could use a jump-start.

Here's the other major part of this equation: There is a spot for him. The Rays easily could make room for Myers by parting ways with veteran Luke Scott, the almost 35-year-old designated hitter who never has been the basher with the Rays that he was earlier in his career with the Orioles.

Scott went 2-for-2 in mopup time during Thursday's 10-1 blowout loss to Kansas City, but still he is batting only .221 with three homers. True, Scott snapped out of an 0-for-41 slump last season and actually carried the Rays for a spell, but you don't get the feeling he will do that again this season.

Scott is a good man, a popular teammate and you cannot question his passion for the game. And, counting last year, the Rays are into Scott for $8.75 million. But he can't really play the field, injuries are a part of his DNA and now he isn't even running into the occasional home run.

How, exactly, is he helping and what, exactly, makes you think he will help anytime soon or ever again?

So here's how this would all work. Release Scott. Bring up Myers and put him in right. You have Ben Zobrist at second. Let Matt Joyce and Kelly Johnson take care of leftfield and designated hitter. And you still have Ryan Roberts and Sean Rodriguez to sprinkle in against left-handed pitching.

The worst thing that can happen is Myers isn't ready and the Rays would have to ship him back to Durham. It wouldn't be ideal, but would it really be so terrible?

The best thing that could happen? Myers is everything he is advertised to be.

You never know unless you bring him up.

The time to do that is now.

Comments
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