Rays Trade James Shields To Royals In Six Player Deal

“Big Game James” is taking his game to Kansas City.

The Tampa Bay Rays sent pitcher James Shields along with reliever/starter Wade Davis to the Kansas City Royals for highly touted outfield prospect Wil Myers and three other top minor leaguers.

Shields, who has averaged more than 220 innings per season in six full years in the big leagues, will join a rotation that now includes Jeremy Guthrie, Ervin Santana, and Bruce Chen as well as Davis that now could be competitive in the American League Central. Shields finished the 2012 season at 15-10 and will be under contract for two more years plus a club option. It is expected that Myers will eventually replace B.J. Upton (signed by the Atlanta Braves as a free agent) in center field for the Rays.

The MLB Trade Rumors website evaluates the trade from both perspectives:

“Shields, soon to turn 31, brings a career 87-73 record and 3.89 ERA to the Midwest after finishing third in the AL Cy Young vote for the 2011 season. Beyond his stats, Shields brings leadership to the Royals clubhouse after mentoring young pitchers in Tampa Bay …

“For the Rays, blessed with more than enough pitching to continue to call their rotation an asset, the addition of Myers provides Tampa Bay with another building block to complement their star player in Evan Longoria. Myers, who turns 22 on Monday, enters the 2013 season as the reigning 2012 Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year after hitting .304/.378/.554 in 99 games this season at Triple-A Omaha.”

The Royals franchise has been struggling for many years; the 2012 campaign was their 17th losing season in the past 18 years. Commenting on the trade, Royals GM Dayton Moore had this to say according to ESPN.

“We have to start winning games at the major league level, and the way you develop a winning culture is by winning major league games. It’s time for us to start winning at the major league level.”

Who do you think got the better of the trade, Tampa Bay or Kansas City? Do you expect that Shields could be a “kingmaker” for the Royals?

[Image credit: Keith Allison]