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The Shields Trade Today


With the Royals making the playoffs, Rany Jazayerli says he was wrong about the Shields+/Myers+ trade. I don’t know if I agree, but the trade is theoretically interesting in terms of team-building. At the time, I think Jazayerli’s analysis was obviously correct. I say this even though I think I’m more of a “flags fly forever” guy than most analytical types. I have no problem in theory with trading major potential when you have a window, but based on what was known when they made the trade they just gave up too much for not enough.

Whether the Royals should have done the trade in retrospect is evidently a more interesting question. (As Jazayerli says, from the Rays’ perspective it remains a no brainer.) Certainly, it did pay off in the short-term as Moore intended. Shields was a very good starter, Davis was extraordinary in relief, and the Royals don’t make the playoffs without both. (One reason I still think the trade was a bad idea at the time is that it’s hard to say that the latter was foreseeable.) What makes the question relatively close is that Myers was injured again and was terrible when he did play. He could still be really good, but there’s reason for concern. It’s not as if he’s an established star and the only question is his health; his lifetime RC+ is 105, which is barely playable in the corner outfield. He needs to develop, and while I think that remains a good bet as Royals fans know it isn’t inevitable, and the time he’s missed with injuries is a concern — his age 24 year will be crucial. Odorizzi looks good, but since most young pitchers can’t handle a 200-inning-a-year workload, from a Royals perspective I don’t mind taking the risk. Whether the trade was a good idea in retrospect will come down to Myers. And at this point, it’s hard to know exactly how valuable he is. He might come out next year healthy and picking up where he left off in 2013 — but I wouldn’t be shocked to see him stagnate either. He’s not nearly as valuable a property as he was two years ago after a lost season.

If I were a Royals fan, I probably still wouldn’t want them to have made the deal…but it’s a much closer question than I would have thought. And as Jazayerli says, in that sense I was wrong at the time. And breaking the playoff drought is something that can’t be taken away, and that’s not trivial.

…I will say, though, that if you’re going into “flags fly forever” mode, you really need to hire a minimally competent manager as opposed to, say, Ned Yost.

…a game this good is certainly a point in favor of a more FFF interpretation.

…well, that was something. I’m torn between being happy for the Royals and sympathetic for the perennially snakebit Beane A’s.


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